The tourism industry in the Philippines has plunged 80 percent due to the pandemic but compared to 2020, “there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” according to Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, secretary of the Department of Tourism (DOT).
In a television interview, Puyat said the Philippines’ tourism performance tracks that of Asean as she expressed hope local government units (LGUs) will consider implementing uniform requirements and protocols to encourage domestic tourism which accounts for 85 percent of the industry.
She added international travel remains limited even after the country allowed the entry of balikbayans and foreigners with visas due to the strict quarantines imposed by other countries upon their return.
Puyat said with the decision by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to allow meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) at 50 percent of their capacity in areas under general community quarantine, staycation hotels will have additional revenue stream.
Puyat also said the DOT has asked LGUs to consider removing age restrictions in entering public parks, which they have allowed for staycation hotels and two destinations, Bohol and Boracay,
Local domestic destinations that can be reached by land have been opened to tourism like Rizal, Bataan and Laguna.
The DOT is in talks with the local government of Zambales for possible reopening.
Other tourism sites that have opened earlier include Baguio, El Nido and Coron in Palawan and Siargao.