By MARK FRANCISCO, Staff Writer
TWO meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) earlier set this July in Cagayan de Oro City have been cancelled due to the ongoing crisis in nearby Marawi City.
Office of Civil Defense (OCD) 10 specialist Titus Velez identified the two gatherings as the Special Meeting of the Asean Socio-Cultural Community Council and the 35th Senior Officials Meeting on Energy and Associated Meetings.
When the crisis broke out last May 24, the Asean officials reportedly met hastily and agreed to reschedule the two meetings in October.
It was only last Wednesday when the two meetings were cancelled altogether.
This, even as the Cagayan de Oro Hotel and Restaurant Association (Cohara) has reported a total of 546 hotel room and nine tour booking cancellations since the Marawi City conflict erupted last week.
Of the hotel room cancellations, Limketkai Luxe Hotel suffered the most with 452 cancellations, translating to a P4.5 million loss.
The two Asean meetings were also a huge setback as there were supposed to be a total of 150 delegates attending the event. Among the supposed itineraries will be a tour of Northern Mindanao’s tourism sites and a briefing on the investment climate here.
Meanwhile, Mayor Oscar Moreno also admitted that the whitewater rafting industry in the city has also been hit hard by the ongoing crisis.
He said that whitewater rafting operators have reported steep decline in sales for the past two weeks.
He however expressed optimism that Cagayanons can wither the crisis just like in the past when tropical storm Sendong struck the city in 2011, killing hundreds. Cagayan de Oro City also experienced a shopping mall bombing in 2013, setting back the city’s tourism industry.
Marawi City is 123 kilometers southwest of Cagayan de Oro.
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