Bohol, a popular tourist destination in the Philippines, has failed to make it to the top choice of travelers in the latest Condé Nast Traveler (CNT) Top 10 Readers’ Choice Awards.
The island province, which boasts of its natural and cultural attractions, was not among the three island getaways in the Philippines that were ranked by readers of the respected luxury and lifestyle travel magazine from around the world.
Boracay, Palawan and Siargao were ranked third, sixth, and tenth, respectively, by CNT readers who voted for their favorite islands outside the US.
Boracay, which reopened in 2022 after a six-month rehabilitation, was praised for its “gentle coastlines and transportative sunsets”.
Palawan, which has been a consistent winner in previous years, was lauded for its “dramatic limestone caves and unparalleled wildlife”.
Siargao, a newcomer to the list, was described as a “teardrop-shaped island” that offers more than just surfing.
Bohol’s absence from the list could be attributed to its declining competitiveness under the administration of Governor Aris Aumentado.
According to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), Bohol ranked as the 58th most competitive province in the country in 2023, down from 12th place in 2018.
The ranking was based on the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI), which uses four pillars: economic dynamism, infrastructure, government efficiency and resilience.
Bohol’s poor performance in the CMCI could have affected its appeal to both local and foreign tourists, who are looking for quality services and facilities, as well as a safe and secure environment, the DTI said.
Bohol’s tourism industry, which is one of its main sources of income, has suffered a huge blow due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent travel restrictions.
The province has also faced several challenges such as power outages, water shortages, environmental degradation, and corruption scandals, according to the DTI report.
Governor Aumentado, who was elected last year, has been criticized for his lack of vision and leadership in addressing these issues, the report said.
He has also been accused of misusing public funds and lavish spending on cars, the report added.
His opponents have vowed to restore Bohol’s glory and competitiveness if they win the upcoming 2025 elections, an online commentary said.
Bohol’s residents and stakeholders are hoping that the province will be able to bounce back from its slump and regain its status as one of the best islands in the world, the Department of Tourism (DOT) Central Visayas commented.
Tourism stakeholders have been calling for more accountability and transparency from their local officials, as well as more support from the national government and the private sector, the DOT said.