The provincial government hopes to draw attention on natural hazards and disasters and their effect with the holding of a capacity development seminar for Bohol tourism workers to mitigate its impact on local tourism.

Hosted by the Bohol Provincial Tourism Office (BPTO) seminar set Sept. 26-27 at the Alta Bohol Garden Resort in Baclayon, the seminar aims to equip its participants with knowledge on natural hazards caused by the emerging climate crisis.

Disasters can deter tourists from visiting affected areas like what Bohol experienced during the 7.2 Earthquake in 2013 and the onslaught of Typhoon Odette in 2021 which the two-day seminar hopes address.

“I don’t think it is oblivious to everyone old enough to understand that events of natural disasters are on the rise due to climate change, especially the Philippines is one of the country prone to them,” Gina Kaparig, BPTO’s product development division head, during her welcome message.

Forty participants joined the day including municipal tourism officers, MDRRM officers, tourism-related business owners, and other tourism stakeholders. This was the first batch of attendees with BPTO poised to conduct two more DRRM seminars in October.

On its first day, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) Bohol’s provincial officer Nolan Evangelista discussed seismic activity in the province and proposed management plans in response to it.

He revealed that there are four existing fault lines in Bohol, namely the North Bohol Fault (which extends to Boljoon, Cebu), the Maribojoc Fault, the East Bohol Fault, and the Northern Mindanao Sea Fault.

In line with this, Evangelista encouraged participating LGUs and tourist-based businesses to formulate management plans to reduce infrastructure damages, injuries, deaths, and economic loss during upcoming earthquakes.

Officer-in-charge Leonard Samar of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Bohol gave insights on identifying weather patterns and what to do during hazards, such as storms, flooding, typhoons, thunderstorms, tornadoes, or landslides.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Planning Development Office (PPDO) presented a hazard map of Bohol, showing different areas likely to experience disasters based on a scale of high, medium, and low susceptibility.

PPDO’s Engr. Wilfredo Bueno urged attendees to identify and assess tourist sites and facilities that belong to areas that are likely to experience landslides, floodings, storm surges, and other calamities.

Dr. Anthony Damalerio, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) head, tackled the importance of preparedness in keeping up with Bohol’s environmental changes, noting that the province has been identified as a hazard-prone area, susceptible to economic, livelihood, or infrastructure damages and higher mortality risks caused by disasters.

Through this activity, BPTO hopes to see resiliency in the local tourism industry from natural hazards through proper planning and mitigation to minimize the negative impact on local and foreign tourists alike when visiting Bohol.

The seminar is in line of the provincial government’s Strategic Change Agenda set on creating an environmentally sustainable and resilient province, aligned with the Bohol Island UNESCO Global Geopark Advocacy on environmental conservation and creating economic opportunities through local tourism. (PIMO/GMC)