Camiguin Tourism – New Impulses Needed – Now!

Camiguin Tourism

Camiguin Tourism depends completely on airlines and maritime transportation. Without them, Camiguin remains a completely hidden pearl in the southern Bohol Sea. 

Camiguin Tourism is going up and down like a cork in the waves. Unlike the waves in the sea, it is not weather or nature that force Camiguin’s ups and downs, it’s human creativity and incompetency.

Camiguin Tourism – Transportation

Camiguin’s tourism entirely depends on transportation capacity and frequency. Two main routes link the pearl in the southern Bohol Sea with the rest of the world. In the south there are links to northern Mindanao, Balingoan and Cagayan de Oro. In the north are the connections with Bohol and Cebu, islands of the southern central Visayas.

These vital links are helplessly exposed to airlines and shipping companies. The recent six years show this economic maelstrom.

  • 2008: All links were open. SEAIR flew 3 times per week from Cebu to Camiguin. Super Shuttle Ferry offered daily trips to Bohol and Mindanao and weekly trips from/to Cebu. Several small companies sailed between Camiguin and Mindanao.
  • 2009: SEAIR had stopped their flights, no flights at all. All ferries operated intermittently. A new highlight had been the Paras Sea Cat, a fast ferry that linked Cagayan de Oro with Camiguin and Bohol once a day.
  • 2010: Midsea Air start their 3 times weekly Cebu-Camiguin link. Ferries sail when they are repaired and weather isn’t to tough. The Paras Sea Cat had several drop outs of many weeks.
  • 2011: Midsea Air stops their service. The one-plane airline cannot survive. OceanJet ousts Paras Sea Cat and doubles the fares. All other ferries sail from/to above destinations
  • 2012: No flights, but still all ferries operate.
  • 2013: Cebu Pacific Air start their 3 times weekly Cebu-Camiguin air-link. Soon they increase to 5 times and even daily flights. Ferries operate on the base of tomorrow maybe.
  • 2014: Cebu Pacific Air reduces flights to 5 times weekly. OceanJet operates only during a few weeks. Super Shuttle Ferry damages two ferries. Routes to Bohol and Cebu are interrupted
  • 2015: Five weekly flights form/to Cebu. No ferries from/to Bohol and Cebu. Nobody knows nothing about OceanJet. Road between Balingoan and Cagayan de Oro severely damaged.  (as by January 20, 2015)

Conclusion: No potential tourist can rely on transportation to Camiguin. All northern routes are down, except the Cebu Pacific Air flights. Foreign embassies warn their citizens not to go to Mindanao, the southern route. How can a potential tourist reach Camiguin? 

Paras Sea CatThe good old days of the Paras Sea Cat

Camiguin Tourism – Promotion

Tourism promotion in Camiguin also sees its ups and downs. Already in 2009 a private resort could reserve and get the valuable domain camiguin.ph. This domain is still active and perfectly maintained. But it promotes one resort and not the whole island destination of Camiguin.

From 2008 to 2011 the Camiguin Tourism Association (CTA) had a rather nice website. Real efforts were made to promote Camiguin and tourism in Camiguin:

Our MISSION:

  1. To undertake programs and projects that will upgrade and professionalize operations of tourism related services in Camiguin.
  2. To promote unity, collaboration and cooperation among those in the tourism industry and other entities engaged in tourism.
  3. To encourage and foster high ethical standards in business resulting in fair and honest competition.
  4. To provide representation in matters of government interventions on tourism related policies, rules and laws affecting the tourism sector of the province.
  5. To exercise dynamic leadership in promoting goodwill, understanding and fellowship within the tourism sector, both national and international.
  6. To intensify community participation and environmental conservation.

You may want to see an archive copy of this website. Here it is!

In 2012  somebody created a new website for the CTA. Unfortunately their webmaster did not respect copyrights and used pictures from other websites. The website is dead since end of 2013. This domain name (CAMIGUINTOURISMASSOCIATION.COM) without content is available for sale by its owner through Sedo’s Domain Marketplace. The estimated sales price is USD 925 (or much cheaper…) Something went awfully wrong with CTA – the Camiguin Tourism Association. What happened?

The official governmental website of Camiguin has one page with title TOURISM. With 9 dry lines, not updated since May 2011, they cannot expect any potential tourist to be attracted to Camiguin. Camiguin is not alone, check a similar island’s official website: Siquijor! Lorem ipsum – hahaha!

The two Facebook pages, one official and one private, are no real promotion. Facebook can be used as booster for existing and well designed websites. Facebook as a standalone solution has no impact.

In November 2014, Camiguin sent a high ranking government delegation to the World Travel Market 2014 in London. They created a nice show in rainy London. The World Travel Market is a business-to-business event. Up to now, nobody knows how many contracts, partnerships and other returns on investment have been established in London.

Conclusion: Camiguin has currently no, absolutely no promotional presence on the World Wide Web. Either the government or a private entity must create and maintain a highly professional website that makes the world talk about Camiguin. A first step had been done with last year’s outstanding promotion video. Camiguin needs tourism professionals to do the right job!

WTM 2014 Camiguin

Camiguin promotion during WTM 2014 in London

Camiguin Tourism – Continuity

Raphael Cohen,  once told me, back in my Geneva days: Don’t forget to be prepared otherwise you can prepare to be forgotten! So true, also for Camiguin.

Camiguin must absolutely not become a second Boracay or a second Langkawi. Camiguin must continue to be a wonderful pearl in the Bohol Sea.  We should not look for mass tourism but attract tourists who look for unspoiled tropical nature, clean but not overcrowded beaches, adventures without big technical gimmicks and most important, find the true Philippines. Camiguin has them all but does neither actively maintain nor promote.

The yearly two peaks, Panaad and Lanzones Festival, must not be over-promoted. The two events are nice, but these 17 days out of 365 stress the island. 10,000 arrivals in one or two days are a catastrophe.  These events could be used as magnets for whole spring and autumn seasons, but not as singular peaks in a tourism desert.

Get prepared!

It is never too late. Let us face the challenge together – NOW! The feedback form below could be the starting point. We could together use this feedback form as a first forum of opinions, ideas and critics. If the comments and suggestions grow and will have enough impact, we could start to think about a forum or even a revived Camiguin Tourism Association.  The door is open for a new Camiguin Tourism: Camiguin Tourism – New Impulses Needed – Now!

[GARD]

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9 Responses

  1. Phil says:

    new impulses can only come from new people, not only new but also professional!
    Please draw your concludions….

    • waebi says:

      For not to commit the same errors as in the past, there should be a mix of old people with experience and new people with ideas and knowledge.

  2. Jim says:

    Where does one begin?! The biggest complaints/concerns I get from clients are:
    1. Absolutely NO information on boats to/from Camiguin and if anything is available…it’s severely outdated.
    2. No connections from Bohol…even though I was recently told by a guest that they were sold tickets at the travel agent on Panglao for the Jagna Ocean Jet even though it was not running.
    3. Once on the island there is limited information and they hate being bombarded by people at the port of Benoni. (It’s a disgrace!) No organization whatsoever and totally confuses the guests.
    4. No night time transportation. Guests state they want to travel at night from one resort or establishment to another, check out nightlife, check out other restaurants/bars but they can’t find transport and don’t like to drive their motor bikes at night. ( I can’t say I blame them, with all the dogs on the road and god knows what other “obstacles”! )

    That’s just the beginning. Start with a Boat that departs and returns to Camiguin….I.e. Camiguin to Cdo in the a.m. then Camiguin to Bohol and back in the p.m. and have a website with accurate info to support and promote it. If not full load capacity start with 3 days a week and work from there.

    Thanks.

    • waebi says:

      A good start. Biggest problems seem to be transportation (sea, land and air) and information.

      Local transportation and information could be resolved quickly. 5 to 8 well trained people with the needed commitment and with a corresponding salary could do the job.

      Sea and air transportation are much bigger challenges. We can’t bring people form/to Balingoan and Jagna, when the infrastructure in northern Mindanao and Bohol is even worse than here.

      Let’s continue our brainstorming. Solutions are within reach.

  3. Over the years a range of association both private and government have attempted to coordinate and at times collaborate to enhance tourism.
    Examples of this collaborative work being the Living Asia TV segment running for 1 year across SE Asia, promotional banners in departure ports, brochures and both the Camiguin Tourism and Camiguin Tourism Association websites

    However There were issues which conflicted with the hopes of those who attended and invested time in the associations and departments;

    Negatives;
    1. Poor commnication between private and government groups.
    2. Duplication of work – example brochures.
    3. Poor and in some cases no attendance to Tourism meetings from members.
    4. Unwillingness of some resorts, home stays and restaurants to join the either groups/associations.
    5. Narrow group of individuals who sat on the boards and we’re constantly re elected ( as no one would come forward for election )
    6. Difficulty in engaging members due to none attendance at meetings.
    7. Difficulty collecting members dues and financial support for promotional materials.
    7. Geographically the Mambajao area was represented however there’s was minimal contribution and attendance from the other municipalities.

    Your article highlights the history of Tourism challenges and Transportation issues that urgently need addressing.
    It is my belief that a new approach which takes the best from both the private and public sector to establish a collaborative and single approach to Tourism challenges is the way forward.

    An acknowledgment of past endeavour should be noted and a new collaborative Tourism Board be formed.
    The benefits of a combined Public and Private Tourism Association would streamline future endeavour with the follow initial benefits.

    1. Public sector Tourism officers able to focus on goals and communication on a daily basis.
    2. Private sector to assist with co financing promotional activities.
    3. Public sector to enable and ensure all Tourism related establishments participation/membership in decision making and implementation of projects.
    4. Private sector to commit time and management skills to enable projects to meet goals and targets
    5. Both Public and Private sector board members to liase with relevant agencies/departments to enhance such issues as Transportation, Marketing and International collaborations.
    6. Mayoral and Govenors Office support, to ensure participation across all island businesses and government departments.

    These are but a few ideas and the thoughts of myself and my husband and hope something comes from your article.

    Best Wishes

    • waebi says:

      Dear Susan, Dear Philip,
      You know the business and you know our island. Your commitment is recognized in the community.
      Your comment is a valuable input to our information gathering.
      If you do not freeze in UK, we’ll be happy to meet you in Camiguin next month.

  4. In Camiguin there is nothing that is not possible to find much better in other places. To improve the tourism the few natural beauties, destroyed more and more from the cement, are not enough. Camiguin instead of improve resorts needs to improve her personality, starting with new ideas that can interest the visitors as something that is unique in this place 365 days a year. The transportation follows the request: I had been in many places in the world, being a journalist, and everywhere is the same story. Interesting: OK, I am interested to go. Nothing of special: I do not loose my time. Words and promotion give effect if there is in the back something that really worth and the word is full of fantastic beauties. Is not so much difficult to find a way to give to the tourists a reason to come and to spread their nice experiences. I have some projects that I got in my travels, and these projects, already working fine in other countries, can be easily adapted for Camiguin. They are connecting the natural resources, the culture and the arts. If someone is interested, we can speak of that, also if I am not so much convinced that Camiguin want to do a quality leap.

    • waebi says:

      Dear Franco,
      So true. I’ve seen the horrible results of tourism in many countries. We absolutely do not want to see this here.

      You wrote: “Camiguin instead of improve resorts needs to improve her personality, starting with new ideas that can interest the visitors as something that is unique in this place 365 days a year”.

      So simple and so true. Be unique!

      The major challenge of Camiguin is to find the balance between preserving indigenous life and nature versus getting out of poverty and beating eco-terrorism.

  5. waebi says:

    Latest News before we close today:
    Our Facebook campaign has reached 1022 people in the the target markets in only 8 hours. Cost of the operation CHF 2.03 (You even won’t get a beer for this in Switzerland).

    If you share, like and spread this message, we may reach many more people, potential friends of Camiguin. Do it now!

    Cheers – we’ll continue tomorrow.

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