MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has urged Filipinos to travel around the Philippines in light of fears on international travel due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.
Duterte, in a taped message, called on the public to boost local tourism as tour operators reported at least P10 billion in losses due to a travel ban to and from China, the country's second largest tourism market and epicenter of the deadly virus.
“To my fellow Filipinos, I encourage you to travel with me around the Philippines. I assure you that everything is safe in our country, be it an issue of health, be it an issue of law and order and be it an issue of accessibility,” the President said.
“Come with me and be my travel companion. I’ll be traveling around the Philippine. Pasyal tayo dito sa atin. Unahin natin 'yung atin. Mabuhay ang Pilipino. Mabuhay ang turismo ng Pilipinas,” he added.
(Let’s tour around and prioritize our country. Cheers to the Filipino people and Philippine tourism.)
Duterte, who met with airline companies earlier this week, said carriers and hotels had agreed to lower rates “so that we can be a viable market.”
“Maraming magagandang mapuntahan sa Pilipinas, wala kayong dapat alalahanin,” he said.
(There are many beautiful places in the Philippines. You don’t have to worry about a thing.)
The Philippines has imposed travel restrictions on China and its territories in a bid to control the spread of the COVID-19.
China is the Philippines second largest source of foreign tourist arrivals, next only to South Korea, and accounts for nearly a fifth of the total, tourism department data showed.
Earlier this month, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the government was eyeing to boost promotions in South Korea and the United States, the Philippines' top and 3rd largest tourist markets, respectively.