Slow but sure revival of tourism pushed
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - May 31, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) welcomes the reopening of tourist destinations but thinks the revival of tourism should be done slowly but surely.

“Tourism will be allowed in a number of areas graduating from general community quarantine (GCQ) to the more relaxed modified GCQ, and we are having our hotels and resorts prepared to follow the safety protocols,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in an interview over GMA Network.

Puyat recently issued DOT Memorandum Circular 2020-002, which institutionalizes updated health and safety protocols in the operations of accommodation establishments under a new normal scenario, which focus on areas such as guest handling, rooms occupancy, housekeeping, food and beverage services, kitchen sanitation and disinfection as well as business practice and management, among others.

She stressed the important role of local government units (LGUs) in enforcing the new normal protocols as health authorities continue to search for a vaccine against the dreaded coronavirus.

“The crisis might dissipate and the local epidemic slows down but the threat of COVID-19 will still be there, and our response to that is to strictly observe personal prevention such as wearing face mask, hand-washing and social distancing,” Puyat said.

The recently issued guidelines call for a reduced capacity in room accommodation, tourist bus or shuttle and dining room,as well as wearing of face mask and practicing of physical distancing.

“We have to make sure that when we finally revive tourism, we don’t go back to where we were,” Puyat said.

The tourism industry, a key driver of the Philippine economy, is among the hardest hit sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Data from the DOT show that foreign arrivals plunged 54 percent to 1.3 million in January to April, resulting in a 55.79 percent   decline in foreign tourist arrival revenues to P79.8 billion.

In 2018, the tourism sector was the country’s second largest contributor to national revenue, contributing 12.7 percent of gross domestic product. It is also a huge job generator as it employed 5.4 million workers in the same year.

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