Business events, such as incentive trips and international conferences, are helping to hasten the recovery of Bohol’s tourism industry, where interest in the Filipino province has risen since its hosting of PHITEX (Philippine Tourism Exchange) in 2020.
When international borders first opened in 2022, South Korea was the first to start sending incentive groups to Bohol, which helped most of the resorts and hotels recover from the pandemic-induced closure, shared Margie Munsayac, vice president sales and marketing, Bluewater Resorts.
South Korea has now become a top source market for Bohol, with five airlines flying direct from South Korea to Panglao. To further bolster this inbound market, the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) will be conducting a MICE Roadshow in South Korea this coming October.
Aside from South Korea, Munsayac also shared that Taiwan has been sending groups of all sizes to Bohol.
Other upcoming business events heading to Bohol include the Philippine Green Building Council conference in September; as well as the international start-up conference Geeks on a Beach, and 6th PTTA Asia Conference on martial arts, both of which will take place in November.
Mary Ann Ong, general manager inbound, Bridges Travel and Tours, agreed that Bohol is emerging as a hot destination for corporate events. In fact, her company is deciding whether to take a 600-pax incentive group in November to Boracay or Bohol.
As to why Boracay or Bohol, Ong explained that the incentive group members wanted to stay together, and among the larger resort destinations, only the two destinations could accommodate such a large group at one time.
Although business may be booming, Bohol is experiencing a shortage of large-scale venues and hotels. Fortunately, there are plans afoot for infrastructure development, Joanne M Pinat, officer in charge, Bohol Provincial Tourism Office, disclosed. For example, the old airport site in Tagbilaran is being eyed for a 1,500-pax convention centre.
Currently, the largest business events venue in Bohol is the 1,000-pax Convention Centre within the Henann Resort Alona Beach complex, which also boasts a 400-key resort. Also located within the Henann Resort Alona Beach is the 210-key Henann Tawala Resort, which opened only last year.
More hotels are set to come online next year, such as the 188-key South Palms Resort Panglao Bohol – MGallery, part of the massive Panglao Shores tourism and lifestyle development, which will also feature event venues and more hotels.
Recently in June 2023, Cebu-based property developer AppleOne and JW Marriott inked a deal to build a five-star hotel in Panglao.