Tourism expert: Govt assistance should prioritize firms outside major travel destinations

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 10) — The national government should put premium on helping tourism-related establishments not within the country's primary tourist destinations but also mainly attract foreign travelers, said a tourism expert.

"The immediate priority as far as emergency response (is concerned) should be those outside the international destinations," said Ramon Alampay, director of the UP Asian Institute of Tourism Division of Tourism Research and Extension Services.

In an interview with CNN Philippines' The Exchange, Alampay noted a "large majority" of affected enterprises are situated outside the major tourist spots, adding these small businesses and their workers are the "most vulnerable."

The UP AIT professor also emphasized the importance of reviving tourism efforts of local attractions.

"I think the key really is to have our domestic destinations, the regional destinations opened up to the domestic and regional users," said Alampay.

He also cited the role of ramping up COVID-19 vaccination and ensuring safety in tourist sites in helping bring back confidence among travelers.

The Department of Tourism said it is currently inoculating tourism workers in a bid to protect them and the travelers.

Tourism is among the sectors worst hit by the global health crisis with governments closing borders and declaring mobility restrictions. The industry's share to national economic output plummeted to 5.4% in 2020 due to the pandemic - falling by over 61%.