DOT estimates 66% plunge in tourism industry’s H1 revenue due to the pandemic

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 22) — The Department of Tourism said the industry has incurred 66 percent decline in revenue from tourism in the first six months of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tourism Spokesperson Benito Bengzon told CNN Philippines’ Newsroom Ngayon that they have estimated tourism revenue of ₱81 billion for the first six months of 2020, down from ₱243 billion recorded in the same period last year.

Travel restrictions were implemented by the government as part of its goal to control the spread of the infectious disease which led to thousands of flights and cruise trips canceled.

In February, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said the country’s tourism industry could lose ₱42.9 billion in revenue due to restrictions imposed on travelers that have made aviation and cruise industries suffer.

She said that the negative impact was expected after the Philippines recorded a “substantial increase” in arrivals from China in 2018. In the first ten months of 2019, a total of 1,499,524 Chinese arrived the country.

To curb the pandemic's effects, the DOT is slowly opening subsectors of the industry. Last week, the department released guidelines for the holding of meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions (MICE) in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

As for areas under other quarantine classifications, MICE events are still not allowed.

Under Administrative Order No. 2020-03, MICE suppliers, exhibitors, and venue operators can only use up to 50 percent of the total venue capacity. Moreover, only those living in areas under MGCQ can participate in MICE events.

Bengzon said venues should follow the following protocols: have contact tracing forms; place sanitizing mats and drying pads; designate loading and unloading bays; place alcohol and sanitizer dispensers in the venue; place acrylic glass or plastic barriers between tables; have foot pedal or sensor-operated trash bins; and for attendees and staff to always wear face masks.

Employees should also accomplish health declaration forms, have their body temperature checked, use personal protective equipment, and have regular personal hygiene briefing.

Implementation of guidelines will be monitored by the DOT and the MICE exhibitors.