Business group to gov't: Help restart tourism with 'safe travel stamp'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 2) — The government must help tourism businesses in securing globally-recognized safety accreditations to regain the confidence of travelers amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry said.

PCCI president Benedicto Yujuico said the Philippines must adopt global safety standards and help businesses secure the “safe travel stamp” that will effectively allow the country to be part of travel bubbles in the region and beyond.

The country's largest business group particularly noted the World Travel and Tourism Council Safe Travels Stamp, the first safety and hygiene stamp for travelers which allows them to identify governments and businesses that have adopted global health standardized protocols.

This is necessary "to revive business and consumer confidence" in the tourism industry, which has been badly hit by the coronavirus restrictions, Yujuico said during the Task Group on Economic Recovery-National Employment Recovery Strategy Job Summit 2021 on Saturday.

The certification should include other industry segments like the MICE, or meetings, incentive, convention and exhibition events.

In January, the Department of Tourism said two Philippine-based hotels, Joy Nostalg Hotel & Suites Manila and Grand Hyatt Hotel, were the first two recipients of the certification.

Other recommendations of the PCCI include a clear messaging when announcing community quarantine restrictions, stressing that mobility restrictions must be “harmonized and eased” given the bottlenecks in logistics and supply chains.

To support retailers, the government must also hasten upgrading internet connectivity to facilitate e-commerce and digital spending.

Subsidies and loan grants, as well as trainings, should also be available for the agriculture sector on the use of advanced machinery and for women who want to return to the workforce.

Initiatives to increase local demand through buy-local campaigns and the resumption of physical and face-to-face activities in low-risk areas must be implemented, the PCCI added.

CNN Philippines' senior correspondent Lois Calderon contributed to this report.