On Tuesday, August 25, the Department of Tourism (DOT) welcomed the approval of the PHP10-billion allocation for the tourism industry under the Bayanihan To Recover As One or the Bayanihan 2 Bill.
In a statement, the Philippines Department of Tourism said the allotment “ensures the survival” of tourism micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and signifies the recognition of the tourism sector by the Senate and House of Representatives.
“The Department is optimistic that collectively the industry can weather this challenge, and come out stronger and better. With the government’s support through the Bayanihan 2, the DOT shall continue to handhold its stakeholders towards recovery, and carry out the plans and programs under the Tourism Response and Recovery Plan (TRRP) in its full capacity,” it said.
The tourism sector is one of the hardest hit industries by the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. Millions of people all around the world have lost their livelihood.
In a recent statement, the Tourism Congress of the Philippines said the travel restrictions imposed due to the pandemic had pushed most of the small-scale tourism businesses “to the brink of bankruptcy”.
Based on the latest data from the DOT, tourism receipts from January to July 2020 plummeted by a whopping 72%—PHP81 billion compared to 2019.
Roughly PHP6 billion has been set aside to specifically provide soft loans to tourism MSMEs through the Small Business Guarantee and Finance Corporation of the Department of Trade and Industry which will be coordinated by the Department of Tourism.
The PHP3 billion will be devoted to assisting displaced and unemployed tourism workers through the Department of Labor and Employment.
As for the remaining PHP1 billion, it will be provided for tourism road infrastructure programs of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
According to the DOT, a number of small tourism businesses are projected to benefit from the allocation since about 99.9% of the 144,640 establishments in accommodation and food service activities are considered MSMEs.
In terms of employment, 95.8% of the 921,292 workers in accommodation and food service activities are also MSMEs, the statement added.