Seat sale, hotel promos can help cushion coronavirus impact on tourism: official


Posted at Feb 17 2020 12:00 PM

A batch of visitors arrive at Cagban port on the formal reopening of Boracay island on October 26, 2018 after a six-month closure to tourists. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA – Airlines, hotels and tour operators should consider offering seat sales and promos to spur domestic tourism and cushion the blow of a potential slowdown due to the coronavirus outbreak that started in China, an official said Monday. 

The Department of Tourism is coordinating with airlines to come up with promotions that will entice domestic travelers, Undersecretary Art Boncato Jr told reporters in Malacanang. 

“We encourage all our stakeholders coming from airlines, hotels and travel trade to look at steps in really stirring the market and part of this would be several airline seat sales, packaged promotions,” Boncato said. 

"We are coordinating with airlines, to cushion the effect of COVID is to come up with airline year-long promotions similar to multi-destination passes at the very least," he said.

The same value added promotions are being considered to boost foreign tourist arrivals this year, he said. 

Philippine tourism lost about P14.8 billion in February, as tourists postpone travel plans due to fears of contracting the virus, Boncato earlier said in a Senate panel.

Government units with approved budgets should consider “moving around the Philippines” for meetings and engagements to stir domestic tourism, he said. 

President Rodrigo Duterte on Valentine’s Day called on the public to travel locally as tour operators reported some P10 billion in losses after the ban to and from China cut Chinese tourists arrivals.