House: PH tourism can recover from COVID-19 scare

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 14, 2020   •   443

BORACAY

The House of Representatives is confident that Philippine tourism will recover from the COVID-19 threat.

Tourism vice chair and 1st District, Bohol Rep. Edgar Chatto said that the tourism sector has remained resilient even during disasters.

“We have been very resilient in the tourism sector even if we are threatened by disasters or threats like this. The tendency of the industry is really to rebound. It grows back. After this crisis, we will be able to bounce back,” he said.

READ: NAIA passenger volume drops by 60% after travel ban

The Philippine Tour Operators Association (Philtoa) previously estimated that the tourism industry has lost at least P10 billion so far since the travel ban due to COVID-19. About 50 percent of reservations in Boracay, Cebu and Palawan have already been canceled.

Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism reassured the public that efforts are being undertaken by the Department to soften the impact.

“The DOT and the private tourism sector, represented by the major airlines, the Tourism Congress of the Philippines, and the Philippine Hotel Owners Association, met with President Rodrigo Duterte to discuss their plans to roll-out more value-added packages, discounted accommodation rates, and marked-down prices for domestic flights,” according to the House’s statement.—AAC

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Sagada reopens doors to tourists; new rules set amid COVID-19 threat

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 24, 2020

After its temporary closure, the tourist spots in Sagada, Mountain Province have been reopened to the public but with a new set of rules as precautionary measure against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-2019).

Sagada Mayor James Pooten, Jr. has signed an order lifting the suspension on all eco-tourism activities in their area. However, Pooten said spelunking and sunrise viewing will remain suspended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The official also said tours will begin at 7:00 a.m. and tourists need to undergo health screenings upon arrival in Sagada.

“Assessment will be done when registering at the Tourist Information Center when checking in at accommodations, and before tours start,” he said.—AAC

Duterte to visit tourist sites to boost tourism amid COVID-19 threat

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 17, 2020

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte prepares to board a helicopter after gracing the inauguration of the Sangley Airport Development Project in Cavite City on February 15, 2020. ALBERT ALCAIN/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte will visit popular tourist sites in the Philippines to promote local tourism amid the COVID-19 threat.

READ: It’s more fun in the Philippines: Duterte invites Filipinos to visit local tourism sites amid Covid-19 fears

The President may travel to Boracay, Cebu, and Bohol to attract more visitors and potentially make up for the losses of the current travel ban in China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

“He’s a magnet. His presence attracts people from attending an event,” according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Usec. Art Boncato said they will schedule a trip as soon as possible.

“We’re of course lining up destinations like Boracay, Cebu for instance even Bohol, as the initial list of destinations for the president most probably visit within the next couple of weeks,” he said.

READ: Duterte asks local carriers, hotels to help boost PH tourism amid COVID-19 threat

Tourism industry stakeholders agreed to help boost domestic travel by offering discounted airfare and hotel rates following a meeting with President Duterte.

“Come with me and be my travel companion. I’ll be traveling around the Philippines. Pasyal tayo dito sa atin. Unahin natin ‘yung atin. Mabuhay ang Pilipino. Mabuhay ang turismo ng Pilipinas,” Duterte said on his video message.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

House sets hearing on impact of COVID-19 on PH tourism

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 12, 2020

The House of Representatives will have a joint hearing on the impact of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 on Philippine tourism and travel industry.

The House Committee on Economic Affairs and the House Committee on Tourism will have a joint hearing on Wednesday (February 12) to get the views and perspectives of government officials and tourism stakeholders from the private sector on the issue.

According to Philippine Tour Operators Association (Philtoa) President Cesar Cruz about 50 percent of reservations in Boracay, Cebu and Palawan have been canceled as a result of the imposition of travel ban to and from China.

Philtoa estimates that the tourism industry has lost at least P10 billion so far.

Meanwhile, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) had a preliminary estimate that the economy might lose up to 0.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or about P133 billion if the virus continues to spread.

House Speaker Alan Cayetano earlier expressed the need to ensure that tourism growth will not be derailed as a result of the travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 threat.—AAC

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