June 06, 2020 at 12:10 am
Charlie V. Manalo
"Tourism took a painful blow."
The tourism industry has taken a dive due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the small businesses relying mainly on travelers have suffered the same fate.
Seeing their predicament, Senator Francis "Tol" Tolentino is batting for the inclusion of micro businesses in tourist destinations in the plan to assist industries affected by COVID-19.
Tolentino is reminding the concerned agencies to avoid of a repeat of the UDS experience wherein only big businesses were able to avail themselves of the stimulus package. He says 80 percent of the businesses in tourist spots are micro businesses.
Tolentino’s proposal is to provide a stimulus package for businesses and industries to jumpstart the local economy that has been severely crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tolentino says that the bill should include the creation of a tourism roadmap, which would include ways on how to address the concern of micro businesses in the tourist destinations once domestic tourism is allowed in modified general community quarantine areas.
The lawmaker adds that the measure should include ways to jumpstart the tourism industry, including the creation of a roadmap that would provide a glimpse on how tourism would address this situation.
“There is no more opportune time than to help the tourism industry than today,” Tolentino says, adding the roadmap should also include thousands of festivities, which he considers as drivers of the country's domestic tourism industry.
The senator also wants local government units to extend a helping hand to micro businesses in their areas by providing grants through the Barangay Micro Business Enterprises Act.
More importantly, the government should extend full assistance to micro businesses and simplify the process for them.
Just imagine how the people from Sagada could cope with tedious process that goes with securing stimulus package as stated in the law, according to Tolentino.
The government really needs to extend a lifeline to the ailing tourism industry. After all, it has contributed a lot to the country’s economy. And it will continue to contribute much if given the chance to recover the soonest possible time.
Speaking of reviving tourism, the Department of Tourism and its attached agencies are making sure that Philippine tourism remains competitive, adapts well and takes advantage of the digital revolution.
According to Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, the DOT will continue to optimize the role of technology to promote tourism and digital learning to provide new opportunities across the tourism sector.
In fact, Puyat bared the DOT has joined the international trend in going digital; utilizing inspirational strategies to maintain market presence worldwide.
A series of promotional videos encouraging tourists and non-tourists alike to “Stay at home, dream, and wake up in the Philippines” featuring breathtaking sceneries and memorable activities in the country were recently released by the Department. One-minute videos highlighting the different regions including Central Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Cordillera Administrative Region, Bicol and MIMAROPA Region were also produced, accessible at philippines.travel/wakeupinph.
The DOT is also promoting “travel from home” by providing virtual backgrounds of some of the most popular travel spots in the country for video conferencing platforms. The photos for morning, afternoon, or night video calls can be downloaded fromphilippines.travel/fromhome for free.
The Intramuros Administration, an attached agency of the DOT responsible for the restoration and redevelopment of the historic Walled City of Manila, has also turned to technology operating an online museum, and managing Visita Iglesia Tours and online learning sessions.
With our bucket list temporarily on hold, we might as well avail of DOT’s digital travel for the meantime.