MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Tourism (DoT) is preparing a “public relations offensive” that would offset the impact caused by the hostage-taking on Monday watched by millions on live television.
Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim said the reaction from Hong Kong authorities was only understandable considering the involvement of their residents in yesterday’s almost 12-hour siege.
The bus siege ended in the death of 8 Hong Kong nationals and the gunman, former senior police inspector Rolando Mendoza.
The Hong Kong government expressed its disappointment over the incident.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang issued a statement late last night saying: “We are issuing a black travel warning, so that all Hong Kong travelers to the Philippines should come back as soon as possible, and anyone preparing to travel there should cancel their plans.”
Lim said the statement was more of disgust over an isolated incident " than an assessment of the peace and order.”
The Philippine government would “quietly try” to have the Hong Kong government lift the black travel warning.
“We’ll have a pr offensive, market the country…hoping they will be convinced on their own,” he said.
Hong Kong residents comprise about 5% of tourist arrivals in the country.
Lim admitted that he has heard news that some countries are also considering issuing travel advisories.
“It won’t last long, we’ll recover from it,” he said.