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Philippines stresses safety as bookings fall

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Beheading of German tourist in no-go area frays nerves
The travel trade in the Philippines is trying to calm the nerves of European agents as bookings decline following several recent incidents such as the Abu Sayyaf beheading of a German tourist last month and the cessation of a communist rebel group ceasefire in January.
Germany has issued a travel warning for parts of the Philippines including Boracay, Palawan and Mindanao. But travel representatives say this is unfair.
“Relatively, crimes against tourists are quite low in the Philippines,” said an indignant Jose Clemente III, president of Rajah Tours Philippines. “What they don’t tell you is he was in a place he shouldn’t have been. He was warned but he still went there. Is it really [the Philippines’] fault?”
But Matthias Rotter, managing director of Dertour and Meier’s, tells TTG Asia that bookings for the Philippines are not coming in, as the incident was given widespread coverage in the German media.
All Asian destinations at Dertour and Meier’s, including Thailand, Vietnam, Bali, Japan and China, are looking healthy – excepts for the Philippines, due to the incident and a negative image, and Malaysia, which is suffering from Malaysia Airlines’ decision to axe direct Frankfurt flights.
The Philippines’ department of tourism promises fam trips for the German market later this year.
TTG Asia

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