News / Asia

Philippine Resort Suffers from Hostage Crisis

Police and SWAT members assault a tourist bus to rescue hostages at Manila's Rizal Park Monday, 23 Aug 2010
Police and SWAT members assault a tourist bus to rescue hostages at Manila's Rizal Park Monday, 23 Aug 2010
Ira Mellman

Last month's hijacking in Manila of a bus carrying Hong Kong tourists has prompted many hotel cancellations across the Philippines.  One popular resort island has been especially hard hit.

The turquoise waves continue to lap the still beautiful white sand beaches on the Philippine Island of Boracay, about 345 kilometers south of the capitol Manila.

But many of the beach chairs and chaise lounges are empty now after a former Philippine police officer hijacked a bus carrying tourists from Hong Kong in Manila on August 23. Eight of the tourists were killed.

The resultant publicity and a decision by the Hong Kong government to warn against travel to the Philippines has had a major effect on tourism to all of the country. Two days after the hostage taking, 800 room reservations were cancelled at Boracay hotels alone.

Last year, Boracay welcomed 650 thousand visitors. Tourists from China made up about 18 percent of that number. Morgan Wu is one of those who did make the trip from Taiwan.

"Actually I was a bit afraid of coming here," said Morgan Wu.

One MGM is one of the resorts reeling from the lack of customers. Tourists from China account for half of its business, those from Hong Kong about 7 percent.  Edwin Raymundo is the hotel's general manager:

"Definitely there's an impact, as we have also a reservation in Manila office, and they're in charge of taking all these bookings, and they reported to me that there's some cancellation due to this incident," said Edwin Raymundo.

Raymundo says there are still some visitors trickling in from China, but business from Hong Kong has come to a complete halt.

"I pray that this incident will be finished, and it will not prolong so much," he said. "And relationship between our country and Hong Kong will be still there."

Some of the visitors say the reaction to the hostage incident has been overblown.  Carlos Nazarino is an IT worker from Manila.

"It's really bad because, because of this one thing, because this one person did that thing - it affected so many people," said Carlos Nazarino.

Stephanie is a tourist from Germany:

"The Philippines is not a dangerous country," said Stephanie. "It's a nice country, very gentle people. But what happened, you know, is now in the spotlight and everybody's talking about it. But, something has to be changed I think."

Tourism authorities are trying to do just that, saying they will launch a massive advertising campaign to restore the image of the Philippines as well as offering budget promotions to lure back foreign visitors

You May Like

Amnesty: EU Failing Migrants, Refugees

Rights group says migrants, refugees subject to detention, extortion, beatings More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deali
X
July 07, 2015 12:02 PM
If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs