The Department of Tourism (DOT) said that it anticipates the reopening of the tourism industry in concurrence with the local government units (LGU), with the easing of travel restrictions, as more places around the country transition to a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat issued the statement in the wake of the announcement of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte that more areas of the country are now placed under MGCQ where tourism activities can resume between other MGCQ areas provided that tourism businesses open at a maximum of 50 percent operational capacity.
Puyat notes, however, that under MGCQ, LGUs have a crucial role to determine the most appropriate time in reopening their respective destinations, sites, attractions, and enterprises to tourists. In Boracay for instance, the Provincial Government of Aklan and the LGU of Malay had mutually agreed to only allow travelers from Western Visayas to visit the island since it reopened last June 16.
Puyat noted that the DOT and its regional offices will meet with the concerned government units (LGUs) and local stakeholders. She highlights that only DOT-accredited accommodation establishments with a Certificate of Authority to operate can reopen.
The tourism chief also stressed that the safety of guests and locals remains the utmost priority of the department.
“The anticipated resumption of business operations will bring about many opportunities for our kababayans, but we would like to remind our tourism stakeholders that the implementation of health protocols in the new normal should always be a priority because it is only by ensuring the safety of our guests can we regain the confidence of our traveling public,” said Puyat.
In 2019, the tourism industry contributed 12.7 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Tourism-related employment accounted for about 5.7 million jobs last year.
“The revenues that we stand to gain are only secondary to the more important characteristic of tourism, which is the industry’s employment generation component,’’ Puyat said. “The resumption of tourism operations will spur not only the recovery of the tourism industry but also the recovery of our nation. The revival of tourism is tantamount to the revival of communities that heavily relied on tourism to thrive.”