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Business

ADB OKs P85 million funding to aid tourism recovery

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star
ADB OKs P85 million funding to aid tourism recovery
The multilateral lender said it has set up a technical assistance facility worth $1.7 million to expedite the sector’s recovery from the pandemic.
Businessworld / File

MANILA, Philippines — Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) has allocated $1.7 million (P85 million) to help in tourism recovery in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

The multilateral lender said it has set up a technical assistance facility worth $1.7 million to expedite the sector’s recovery from the pandemic.

The tourism industry was among the hardest hit sectors globally as the pandemic curtailed travel and leisure trips.

In the Philippines, tourism accounted for nearly 13 percent of gross domestic product prior to the pandemic. International tourism spending was estimated at P549 billion, while domestic tourism was at a high of P3.1 trillion.

ADB’s latest grant aims to boost inclusive, sustainable development in the sector, and help local tourism entrepreneurs, especially women and youth, adopt digital platforms to grow their businesses.

Of the total grant for the region, $500,000 each will come from ADB’s Technical Assistance Special Fund, Korea’s e-Asia and Knowledge Partnership Fund, and Spanish Cooperation Fund for Technical Assistance.

The remaining $225,000 will be released by ADB’s Project Readiness Improvement Trust Fund financed by the Nordic Development Fund.

The Southeast Asia Sustainable Tourism Facility will help countries identify and prepare environmentally sustainable tourism projects and catalyze private financing to support them.

ADB said this would help businesses better operate tourism facilities and deliver digital tourism services.

It will also aid policy makers design visas, online short-term rental, and other policies to attract longer-staying, higher-spending visitors and remote workers, allow more small entrepreneurs to legitimately operate accommodation services, and boost tourism tax revenues.

ADB Principal Tourism Industry specialist for Southeast Asia Steven Schipani said the projects supported by the facility will develop green and resilient urban and transport infrastructure in secondary cities to improve the tourism sector’s competitiveness, help create jobs, protect the environment, and accelerate inclusive digital transformations.

Before the pandemic, travel and tourism accounted for 12.1 percent of the region’s GDP and employed 42 million workers, mostly women working for small and medium-sized enterprises.

However, foreign travels into the region plummeted by over 80 percent last year while domestic tourism remains constrained by travel restrictions and reduced economic activity.

With this, the sector’s contribution to regional GDP fell by 53 percent last year, pushing more people into poverty.

ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK

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