MANILA, Philippines –  The tourism industry can bounce back stronger from the effects of the various quarantine levels imposed nationwide to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement issued on Monday.

According to Puyat, this forecast is based on the tourism industry’s increased contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) — albeit for the year 2019, before the pandemic disturbed normal operations.

“Coming at a time when the country is grappling with the most devastating impact of this pandemic, we are inspired by this report as it affirms the vital role of our tourism sector in contributing to the economic recovery of our nation,” Puyat said.

Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the Department of Tourism said the industry’s share in the GDP jumped from 12.3% in 2018 to 12.7% in 2019.

The economy grew by just 5.9% in 2019, however, due to the delay in the passage of the national budget.

According to Puyat, there has been an increase in the tourism industry’s share in the employment of Filipinos, or the Tourism Direct Gross Value Added (TDGVA).  As of 2019, there are 5.71 million jobs created by tourism, up from 5.36 million the previous year.

“The substantial growth in our TDGVA, inbound and outbound tourism expenditure, and employment in tourism demonstrates the value of the collective effort of our tourism stakeholders,” she said.

“I have high hopes that the Philippine tourism industry will recover, and we will come out better from the current challenges that we face with the strong support from our stakeholders and partners,” she added.

Despite Puyat’s optimism, there are a lot of tourism-related industries that have taken a hit due to reduced travels and tours.

Early this month, Sun Cruises Inc., a company that provides cruise and tour services to tourists visiting Corregidor Island has closed down, due to lack of profit.

And just recently, bus company Victory Liner has decided to layoff hundreds of its employees for the first time in 75 years, due to limited operations. Victory Liner services tourists and travelers moving around various points in Luzon.

Last May, the DOT admitted that tourism revenues from foreign arrivals had fallen by 35%.

/atm



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