The Department of Tourism expects more tourism establishments to reopen soon as local government units outside Metro Manila and Cebu began easing travel restrictions as they transition to modified general community quarantine.
Only DOT-accredited accommodation and establishments with a certificate of authority to operate, however, can reopen, as the safety of guests and locals remains the priority of the department.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said many areas outside Metro Manila were on their way to achieving MGCQ status. These areas are allowed to open up travel and leisure services provided that tourism businesses open at a maximum of 50 percent of their operational capacity.
Under MGCQ, LGUs have a crucial role to determine the most appropriate time in reopening their respective destinations, sites, attractions and enterprises to tourists.
Boracay Island reopened on June 16 when the provincial government of Aklan and the LGU of Malay mutually agreed to only allow travelers from Western Visayas to visit the island.
The Tourism Department said its regional offices would meet with the concerned government units and local stakeholders soon.
“The anticipated resumption of business operations will bring about many opportunities for our kababayans, but we would like to remind our tourism stakeholders that the implementation of health protocols in the new normal should always be a priority because it is only by ensuring the safety of our guests can we regain the confidence of our traveling public,” said Romulo-Puyat.
The tourism industry contributed 12.7 percent to the gross domestic product in 2019. Tourism-related employment accounted for about 5.7 million jobs last year.
“The revenues that we stand to gain are only secondary to the more important characteristic of tourism, which is the industry’s employment generation component. `The resumption of tourism operations will spur not only the recovery of the tourism industry but also the recovery of our nation. The revival of tourism is tantamount to the revival of communities that heavily relied on tourism to thrive,” Romulo-Puyat said.
A report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development showed that the coronavirus pandemic would lead to massive losses in the world’s tourism sector which was placed at a standstill for nearly four months.
The losses will rise significantly, dealing a huge blow to the global economy, if the break in international tourism lasts for a longer period, the report said. It said this could have a significant impact on employment and wages, particularly in economies heavily dependent on tourism.
Tourism is a backbone of many countries’ economies and a lifeline for millions of people around the world, having more than tripled in value from $490 billion to $1.6 trillion in the last 20 years, according to UNWTO.
The pandemic has brought it to a halt, causing severe economic consequences globally. Prevailing lockdown measures in some countries, travel restrictions, reductions in consumers’ disposable income and low confidence levels could significantly slow down the sector’s recovery. Even as tourism slowly restarts in an increasing number of countries, it remains at a standstill in many nations.