The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the largest business organization in the country, has urged local government units to go beyond and above the streamlined travel restrictions of the national government to accelerate the recovery of domestic tourism.
PCCI President Amb. Benedicto Yujuico said this as he expressed full support to the move by the government to streamline travel rules and regulations in tourist destinations.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) recently approved the uniform travel protocols for local government units where travelers are no longer required to present an RT-PCR test unless specified by the LGU prior to travel.
Yujuico underscored the need for LGUs to go over and beyond what is being required by the guidelines of the national government agencies.
“Investing in healthcare systems in the country’s tourist spots must be central to tourism planning now that COVID-19 is driving tourists to think about their health and safety first,“ said Yujuico.
“Investing in infection control facilities such as widespread availability of disinfectants, improvement of ventilation, and re-designing of spaces to allow greater social distancing are significant to reinvigorate the industry and it will benefit the constituents as well.”
PCCI believes that domestic tourism could serve as catalyst for restarting not only Philippine tourism, but also the economy as a whole. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) shows that from 2000 to 2018, tourism’s contribution to the country’s GDP averaged at 7.4%. In 2018 and 2019, the sector’s contribution grew to 12.7%, providing livelihood and employment to 5.71 million Filipinos in the travel and tourism industry.
The harmonization of travel protocols under the IATF-EID Resolution 101 will further facilitate travel movement, flow of goods and services, and boost local tourism.
To help in the recovery process and sustain the growth of the industry, PCCI is promoting greater investment in the country’s healthcare systems.
Meanwhile, PCCI tourism committee chair Samie Lim highlighted the importance of public- private partnership in further reviving the country’s tourism industry.
“If the public and private sector work as one, we can find the solution of bringing people from their homes to COVID-free bubble destinations through a secured travel system for a safe vacation. Safe travel routes will allow us to go on vacation again,” Lim shared.
PCCI tourism co-chair Jose Mari del Rosario also highlighted that with the current rise of online meetings due to telecommuting, hotels and resorts have been bullish in promoting new rates to entice travelers to stay for longer periods while working.
In rebooting the tourism industry, PCCI fully supports the government in protecting tourists’ welfare and tourist attractions through comprehensive master planning that enables the right balance between economic growth and environmental preservation.