MANILA -- Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat believes that the domestic market has a crucial role in the recovery of the travel industry after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at a webinar organized by Asia CEO Forum on Friday, Romulo-Puyat said the Department of Tourism (DOT) is "looking inward" as people have yet to "regain their confidence in the safety of global travel."
"We will be counting on our domestic travelers as they will play an important part in the travel industry's recovery," she said.
Aside from domestic travelers, the DOT will also focus on the short-haul market, specifically tourists from the ASEAN region.
"We recently reiterated our commitment to support ASEAN's tourism road to recovery," she said, "banking on the unity of the tourism industry to ensure that we will endure and overcome these trying times together."
Addressing concerns on how the travel industry can "go back to normal," Romulo-Puyat opted to remain optimistic, saying they would rather focus on making things "even better than they were."
"The world post-lockdown will forever be changed. Let's choose to embrace the challenge it brings and come out stronger than before," she said.
Air travel rules under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) will be continued under the modified ECQ, which will be imposed on Metro Manila, Laguna, and Cebu City starting May 16.
This means no domestic flights and limited international flights, with inbound travel only for overseas Filipino workers and returning nationals.
Meanwhile, inter-island travel is allowed in general community quarantine areas, with safety protocols in place.
RESPONSE AND RECOVERY PLAN
Romulo-Puyat said the DOT is in the process of completing its Tourism Response and Recovery Plan (TRRP), which will include programs under six thematic outcomes that focus on sustaining businesses and protecting vulnerable groups.
These thematic outcomes include appropriate infrastructure; secured livelihood and adequate social services; sustained business operations; enhanced marketing, market, and product development; timely and efficient institutional support; and effective strategic communications.
"The TRRP has consolidated the inputs from all the concerned industry sub-sectors to make for a conclusive planning process and an integrated implementation through the support not only of the government but of the private sector as well," Romulo-Puyat said.
During the webinar, she also mentioned the DOT's latest global campaign "Wake Up in the Philippines," which "gently persuades" foreign travelers to include the country in their future travels.
"When that long awaited day comes and global travel is once more determined to be safe, we will be ready to welcome tourists with open arms and our signature Filipino brand of service once again," said Romulo-Puyat, referring to the ad released online in late April.