Tourism is one of the highest revenue-generating industries in the Philippines. However, with the occurrence of the Taal eruption, Covid-19 pandemic, and the typhoons in the country in 2020, travel restrictions heightened, and traveling for leisure lessened. In the span of one year, tourism revenues went down by 81%. This forced travel agencies, transportation companies, and other hospitality businesses to close or scale down. Many tourism plans that could generate income have been canceled. So, if you have some problems with you business, you can get fast loan here: robocash.ph/articles/business-loan
Despite this, the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) is optimistic that tourism will improve in 2021. The association is planning to move forward with its yearly Travel Tour Exposition and International Travel Trade exposition to revive the tourism of the Philippines. Moreover, talks with other stakeholders in the industry will also be held.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) is also looking for ways to restart and boost tourism despite the pandemic. It is also in charge of creating health and safety protocols that will be observed while traveling. DOT already started to provide online courses to help local tourism participants to disseminate information, knowledge, updates on technology, and methods that will help them cater to tourists in new circumstances. The Tourism Promotions Board also made an initiative by expanding medium and long-term strategic marketing programs to enable tourism activities despite the pandemic.
It is not sure when foreign tourists can visit the Philippines, so the tourism sector highly relies on local travelers. One project that the DOT started is connecting resorts in El Nido Palawan to domestic tourists from Metro Manila. In June 2020, Boracay island has already opened and entertained visitors from the province of Aklan and other regions provided that the visitor is tested negative for the virus. Other places that started to welcome tourists are Baguio City, Batangas, Bohol, Ilocos Region, Palawan, and Siargao.
Bohol hosted The Philippine Travel Exchange 2020, the first physical event since the pandemic. It involved meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions on the arising market niches in the tourism sector.
There are still numerous tourism projects that are being planned by DOT and other tourism organizations to improve domestic tourism but are still subject to the approval of the local governments.
Tourism for Foreign Travelers
Even though international travel is still unlikely to happen now, especially that a new strain of the virus is spreading around the world, DOT aims to create marketing strategies that will help overcome challenges due to the pandemic. One of these initiatives that the department started in 2020 is the creation of travel corridors or travel bubbles so that destinations in the Philippines with no Covid-19 cases will be open to foreign travelers from countries with low infections such as Australia. This plan, however, did not yet materialize.
Philippine Tourism Achievements in the Midst of the Pandemic
Even though 2020 was not a good year for the tourism sector, the Philippines was able to receive awards for being an excellent tourist destination. The country was recognized as one of the world’s Outstanding Diving Spots and Leading Tourist Destinations by the World Travel Awards (WTA). Also, Intramuros won the World’s Leading Attraction alongside the Acropolis of Greece and the Grand Canyon National Park in the United States.
The tourism sector is still expected to function despite the situation as long as it coordinates with the health sector to improve health and travel protocols.
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