Far from it! If you remember the past years, our industry has been dealt with many blows by all types of catastrophes. We’ve had a bloodless revolution, coup d’états, super typhoons, devastating earthquakes, volcanic ashfall, etc. Name it and we’ve had it.
Although I must admit that this latest blow to our industry is the biggest and will probably take us the longest to recover from.
However, every time we are faced with an earth-shaking challenge, we always bounce back, stronger than ever. Thank God, our industry is made up of hardworking, committed, never-say-die, astute strategists who bring it back to its feet.
Let us not be disappointed, frustrated, nor saddened by the fact that—NORMAL IS DEAD. We have to face and accept that, but console ourselves with the fact that HOPE IS STILL VERY MUCH ALIVE. This is why during this global standstill we keep ourselves busy. We learn new strategies, new tools, and new approaches to bring us back to the rhythm of life, where we enjoyed serving our customers and earning our keep at the same time.
The better question should now be: “How can government help us survive these trying times?” I have to say our Department of Tourism (DOT), in cooperation with other government agencies, has been very supportive of us during these times. It started with the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), which gave P5,000 cash to all employees of tourism-related establishments who are either unemployed or underemployed because of the imposed quarantine.
We have also submitted to DOT a proposed list of measures that would help tourism-related enterprises survive these months of zero revenues. This was in response to the filing of the “Economy Moving Forward as One” Act by Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo of Marikina for a P375-billion stimulus package.
Included in our list are: Tax Holidays/Tax Cuts; Interest-free Loans to cover employees’ payroll for the duration of the global standstill; and Government Subsidies to cover operational expenses aside from payroll.
We also proposed several measures which we want the DOT to lobby for with the other government agencies like the Department of Finance, National Bureau of Investigation, Civil Aeronautics Board, and DOLE, to help ensure our survival during these months of uncertainty. For all the aforementioned requests, our DOT has signified its willingness to help.
Meantime, we, tourism professionals are getting involved with webinars to further sharpen our skills and prepare us for the challenges of what is perceived to be the new normal. Future business transactions in our industry will then be very different from what we are currently used to, but new things always motivate people to do more, resulting in their exceeding target.
I see our situation right now as something similar to a group of people involved in the renovation of an establishment. Every design, every procedure, and every detail is paid attention to, because we are all excited looking forward to the day our business starts grinding again.
The local tourism industry is getting ready for our RE-OPENING SALE.
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