Pernia elaborated that foreign tourism brings in only P450 billion, or 3 to 4% percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). This is relatively less compared to its 10-percent contribution to the global GDP amounting to $8 trillion.
Ernie Peñaredondo, File
NEDA secretary says not much, anyway: Tourism decline won’t affect economy
Lorraine L. Ecarma (The Freeman) - February 18, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The decline on travel tourism due to COVID-19 will not greatly or adversely impact the country’s economy according to National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Ernesto Pernia.

Pernia said this during the “Business Meeting with Secretary Pernia”, an event organized by the University of the Philippines Cebu (UPC) School of Management held yesterday at the UPC Performing Arts Hall.

Pernia elaborated that foreign tourism brings in only P450 billion, or 3 to 4% percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). This is relatively less compared to its 10-percent contribution to the global GDP amounting to $8 trillion.

"Actually, our income relative to GDP of domestic travel is larger than our intake in terms of inbound international tourism," he went on to say.

According to Pernia, local tourism makes up 5% of the country’s GDP.

Pernia added that the travel ban on China and its Special Administrative Regions will only adversely impact the revenue from tourism by .06% if the virus will be contained by the end of the month.

Should the travel ban on China and its Special Administrative Regions remain until June, it would mean a .3% impact on the GDP. And if it stays on until the end of the year, it could mean a .7% impact.

As to what it would mean for Central Visayas, NEDA Region 7 Director Efren Carreon estimated a loss of $40 million per month.

This consists of $17 million spent on accommodation, $2.5 million on local transport services, $15.5 million on food and beverages and $5 million on miscellaneous shopping as discussed in a Regional Development Council meeting.

"This will be income forgone in case these inbound tourists will not come to us in the region," Carreon said.

Virgilio "Nonoy" Espeleta, the President of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) reported that hotels have only been getting 10% the usual occupancy rate.

Espeleta added that COVID-19's impact is not only limited to the tourism sector as they have also been seeing a stunt in manufacturing because of delayed shipments from China.

"Shipment also from China particularly are not coming because the factory workers are not yet working in China," he said.

"What I’m trying to say is, the numbers may be very hypothetical but down there --in the field-- we can feel it," he added.

And despite domestic tourism bringing in more revenue, Espeleta pointed out that the appetite of locals to travel has “dampened” due to the COVID-19 scare.

In response to this, NEDA has reportedly alerted the Department of Labor and Employment to the possibility of providing emergency employment to displaced workers under the tourism sector.

Carreon also stated that NEDA is coordinating with the Department of Public Works and Highways in sourcing displaced workers to fill in slots for government infrastructure projects.

"If I may add, I would like to think that the ‘Build, build, build’ program of the government can also help a lot," he said.

"We have already alerted the Department of Public Works and Highways on the possibility of looking at the displaced workers as potential workers of the infrastructure projects implemented by government," he added. (FREEMAN)

ERNESTO PERNIA
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