With no tourist since March lockdown, visitor receipts dip by 79.7% in October
This photo taken on June 17, 2020 shows a general shot of empty famous white beach of Boracay Island in central Philippines, as community quarantine against COVID-19 still continues throughout the country, with foreign tourists still banned on beaches.
AFP/Ernesto Cruz

With no tourist since March lockdown, visitor receipts dip by 79.7% in October

Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - November 13, 2020 - 7:33pm

MANILA, Philippines — Tourism revenues generated from inbound tourists fell by 79.68% in the last ten months with no tourist arriving since March lockdown.

The Department of Tourism recorded an estimated P81.05 billion tourism receipts, almost 80% decrease from the P398.3 billion visitor receipts in the same period last year.

In January this year, tourism receipts totaled to an estimated P47.02 billion, up by 9.10% from the same month last year.

However, with fewer tourists in the succeeding months, the DOT saw a decline of 40.21% and 83.60% in the months of February and March this year, which are equivalent to P27.12 billion and P6.91 billion receipts, respectively.

No tourist spending has been recorded from April to October as travel ban on foreign tourists remains in place amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Tourism traffic in 2020

In view of this, tourism traffic plunged by 80.6% with only 1,318,719 foreign visitors received from January to October. The Bureau of Immigration recorded 6,800,052 arrivals during the same period last year.

The bureau recorded 787,307 foreign visitors in January this year, an 8.84% jump from 2019 arrivals.

Slow down in inbound tourist began in February this year with only 418,126 foreign visitors recorded, a 45.48% drop from the same month last year.

On the other hand, only 113,286 arrivals were recorded in March, which is the same month the national government implemented the enhanced community quarantine that limited the public movements in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The Philippines only started implementing a ban on Chinese nationals coming from Hubei, where the COVID-19 ground zero Wuhan City is located, and other places in China on January 31.

The government expanded the travel restriction to mainland China and its special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau in February before it fully closed the country to international tourists mid-March, the same period of ECQ was implemented.

The Philippines' travel ban on China and its SARs briefly included Taiwan but the government has since reversed that decision following uproar from overseas Filipino workers in Taipei.

The tourism industry achieved a new milestone last year with a record-high 8.26 million foreign arrivals surpassing its target of 2019 international arrivals target of 8.2 million.

Before the coronavirus struck the country, the DOT is eyeing to attract 9.2 million tourists.

Domestic tourism first

Asked if it planed to recalibrate targets this year, Tourism Undersecretary Benito “Bong” Bengzon Jr. in a radio interview in September said the tourism industry can only hope for the best.

“Given the changing variables of the current global health situation, the tourism industry can only hope for the best. While an ample financial support from the government will play a major role in keeping our industry afloat, many factors such as the availability of COVID-19 vaccine and the readiness of destination will play a significant part in regaining tourists’ confidence to travel which will largely determine the attainment of certain targets,” he said in an interview with dzBB on September 21.

This week, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the DOT’s focus is to jumpstart domestic tourism first.

“We will continue our thorough inspection of the health and safety protocols in tourism establishments, so when non-essential travel among Filipinos and even inbound travel for leisure among foreign visitors are allowed, these will be ready,” she said last Tuesday.

BERNADETTE ROMULO-PUYAT BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION COVID-19 DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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