Tourism industry in ASEAN declines by 80 pct a year after COVID-19 began: Romulo-Puyat

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 15 2021 02:48 PM

Tourism industry in ASEAN declines by 80 pct a year after COVID-19 began: Romulo-Puyat 1
People flock to the Travel Tour Expo at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay, City on February 7, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Southeast Asia'a tourism industry has declined by 80 percent over a year since COVID-19 began spreading across the world, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said Monday.

The data is based on a recent meeting among tourism ministers in the region, Romulo-Puyat told TeleRadyo.

"In the region ang bagsak din 80 percent. Hindi lang sa Pilipinas but sa buong Asia," she said.

(In the region, it has declined by 80 percent. It's not just in the Philippines, but in Asia.)

Hotels, restaurants and other recreational facilities were forced to either close shop or operate on a limited capacity to curb the spread of the contagious virus.

Hotels are banned from hosting meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions until their area has been placed under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), Romulo-Puyat said.

"'Yun ang problema: how do you balance the health and safety but at the same time madami na masyadong nawawalan ng trabaho, ng negosyo?" she said.

(That's the problem: how do you balance the health and safety but at the same time there are a lot of people losing jobs, a lot of businesses closing?)

Several tourist destinations like Bohol, Boracay, Baguio, El Nido, Coron, Siargao, Batangas, Laguna, and Rizal have begun accepting tourists on a limited scale, while other areas with low COVID-19 cases are expected to follow, she said.

"We're hoping that more LGUs (local government units) will lessen their travel restrictions at sana uniform na 'yung travel protocols kasi it's up to the LGU (and hopefully have a uniform travel protocol because it's really up to the LGU)," the travel chief said.

"Kasi ang hirap na per destination, iba-iba 'yung travel protocol. Sana we come to a point na pare-pareho na 'yung travel protocol," she said.

(It's really hard to have different travel protocols per destination. I hope we come to a point where we have a standard travel protocol.)