In response to the COVID-19 global impact on the travel retail industry, the Duty Free Philippines Corporation (DFPC) has cancelled plans to permanently close its provincial airport stores.
In a statement on Saturday, June 20, 2020, DFPC said, “With the shift to GCQ (general community quarantine) which eased most travel restrictions and reopened air travel, the DFPC Management saw an opportunity and a ‘small window of hope’ for improvement.”
To address the state-owned corporation’s “already precarious financial condition” brought on by the health crisis that has in essence cut-off air traffic, the initial plan was to permanently shut down Duty Free outlets in several regions of the Philippines from Bacolod, Davao, Iloilo, Clark and Kalibo.
“After two weeks of situational assessment, (the) Management, thru its Memorandum dated June 15, 2020, decided to indefinitely postpone the permanent closure of the above mentioned outlets trusting that normalcy will be regained sooner,” it said.
In order to survive the crisis, DFPC had to take necessary action since its operations relies heavily on tourism and passenger traffic and as a result, no income is generated to manage its operational expenses.
In a separate statement, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, chairperson of DFPC’s Board of Directors, noted that there are no decisions to lay off employees during the pandemic.
“The dissolution or permanent cessation of operations of the DFPC are definitely not options on the table as we address the impact of global travel restrictions on our business performance. The continued employment of our workers remains a top priority,” she said.