Senator Nancy Binay on Wednesday appealed to Filipinos to patronize local tourism first once travel restrictions have eased and the government has successfully dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Binay, chair of the Senate committee on tourism, made the call as she disclosed she has no plans yet to travel abroad given other countries’ COVID-19 situation. The senator encouraged Filipinos to do the same.
“Panawagan ko din sa mga kababayan na imbes na turismo sa ibang bansa unahin na muna natin dito sa atin (I also call on our people that instead of patronizing the other country’s tourism sites, let’s prioritize our own first),” Binay said in a virtual press conference.
“Let’s go local first. Siguro yun ang kailangan nating gawing kampanya—unahin muna natin ang sariling atin (I think we should make that our campaign—prioritize our own tourism),” the senator stressed.
As of now, Binay said she supports the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) efforts to revive domestic tourism.
“Huwag muna tayo tumanggap ng foreign tourists because at the moment, mukhang hindi na dapat tumanggap ng ganung klaseng turista. Dito muna tayo kasi ang laki naman ng market for domestic tourism (Let’s not accept foreign tourists because at the moment, I think we’re not yet ready for that. Let’s concentrate here because we have a big market for domestic tourism),” she said.
Binay noted that the country’s tourism industry is really bound to be affected negatively by the pandemic and will be the last to fully reopen.
“May mga kababayan tayo na adventurous, siguro malakas loob nilang bumiyahe. Pero makikita natin na may problema ang industriya ng turismo globally so, sa tingin ko hindi rin ganoon karami ang ba-biyahe (We have fellow citizens who are adventurous, and they have the guts to travel. But I think the tourism industry really has a problem globally, so I doubt there would be more travelers during this time),” she said.
Likewise, Binay said she welcomes the government’s move to lift the suspension on non-essential travel for Filipinos.
“The travel ban naman is for outbound. Yung mga kababayan natin pwede na silang pumunta sa ibang bansa provided na tatanggapin sila at kailangan pagbaliknila dito magka-quarantine sila (Filipinos can go abroad provided that they will be accepted by the other country and once they return they should follow quarantine protocols),” the lawmaker said.
“Para sa akin, walang masyadong problema for as long as pagbalik nila susunod sila sa protocol (for me, I don’t find it a problem as long as they will follow the protocol when they return here),” she stressed.