Local travel specialists keep optimism amid COVID-19
Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - February 14, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Local travel specialists have kept their optimism amid a deadly coronavirus now wreaking havoc in the world affecting various industries, the tourism sector included.

“We are confident that Cebu is an attractive destination with top facilities that attract diverse markets; we are 'forward looking ' and even if there is a global ‘lower travel confidence’, there is a stable confidence in domestic travel,” said Cebu Alliance of Tour Operations Specialists (CATOS) president Alice Queblatin.

Recognizing the adverse effects brought about by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) to Cebu’s tourism trade, Queblatin said the industry stakeholders and prime movers are joining hands with the government in boosting the domestic tourism.

“Catos supports the direction of DOT to focus and strengthen domestic tourism activities to stay resilient during this crisis. Creating a Cebu Tourism Task Force composed of government and private stakeholders is a necessary move,” she said.

According to Queblatin, preparing for travel in the coming summer season can be exciting , thru a collaboration with hotels, tour operators, tour guides, domestic airlines, restaurants, malls, activity hubs to produce promo tour packages for the domestic market this summer season that starts in two months.

“Alongside, through the Task Force, government can do positive measures to help the tourism enterprises, hopefully tax incentives, waiver or reduction of some business fees, etc., When international travel resumes aggressively, we must be able to rebound strongly,” Queblatin added.

The Department of Tourism projected P43 billion losses in tourism revenue in three months due to the imposed temporary travel ban.

  DOT secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat expects a reduction of tourist arrivals from the markets affected will result to forgone revenues that will carry over until April of this year.

She said the combined projected revenue from China, SARs and Taiwan in February alone would have been P16.806 billion had there been no travel ban. The revenues for March and April, on the other hand, were pegged at P14.112 billion and P11.988 billion, respectively.

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