Tourism industry loses ₱190-B in revenue from March to July 2020

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 12) — The tourism industry has lost approximately P190 billion in revenue since the COVID-19 lockdowns across the country were imposed in March, an industry leader disclosed.

Jose Clemente III, president of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines, said this year’s revenue so far is a far cry from the earnings last year.

During a forum of the Philippine Tour Operators Association Incorporated on Wednesday, Clemente said that from March to July this year, the industry made only around ₱6.9 billion pesos.

This is much lower from the earnings made in the same period last year amounting to ₱196-B.

Tourism stakeholders also called for financial aid as the industry suffers a slump due to travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are all aware of our situation," Clemente said. "Most of us are just hanging on by a string. If there is no intervention, more will continue to go down that path.”

Clemente and other industry players also lamented the ₱10 billion budget in the Bayanihan 2 Bill which was supposed to provide aid to the tourism sector.

That budget is now allocated for infrastructure projects under the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza).

“We were taken aback late last week when we were informed about that allocation of P10 billion for tourism but was now allocated to infrastructure development through TIEZA,” Clemente said.

According to Clemente, infrastructure development could follow once tourism normalizes.

He added that what the tourism industry needs right now are zero to no interest loans in order to keep tourism businesses afloat and help the estimated 5.7 million affected workers.

Clemente said the tourism industry hopes that the government will reallocate the fund intended to provide assistance to the sector considering that tourism is a key player in the Philippine economy.

In 2019, tourism racked in 12.7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.