The impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has greatly affected the tourism that an allocation of PHP 14-billion to several tourism programs and infrastructure for a period of three years can help mitigate the weight the COVID-19 has done.
The virus will take a big toll on the country’s tourism industry. It alone has contributed a percentage of 12.7 in the Philippines’ gross domestic income (GDP). And has provided about 5.8 million jobs in the last few years.
An estimation of PHP 40 billion revenue loss in the months of February to March alone. Moreover, the lockdown of the Luzon will result in further losses in the upcoming weeks.
Romulo-Puyat stated that “In order, to prepare for the eventual return of regular operations once the pandemic has subsided, it is imperative for the government to infuse more funding for the construction/rehabilitation of tourism infrastructure while tourist sites are either closed or with only a few tourists.”
She further stated that an amount of PHP 14 billion, which the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) will fund from their own budget will sanguinely cover the expenses needed for the further development of tourism in the country.
PHP 5 billion will be designated to a different tourist destination like in Iloilo, Pampanga, Boracay, Bohol to fund their various project. These will be initiated within the year and will hopefully generate many job opportunities.
Rehabilitation of many tourist destinations is the main concentration of TIEZA. A few mentioned like the Coron in Palawan with an estimated budget of PHP 500 million, Puerto Galera with PHP 300 million, and Burham Park in Baguio City with PHP 400 million. And the reclamation of these spots will not be limited to sewer treatment plants.
COVID-19 not only greatly affected tourism but also the aviation sector with temporary restrictions on flights. As stated by Puyat, “Could help offset the operational losses of the airlines affected by travel restrictions and canceled flights.”
TIEZA would also want to focus on the night ratings of the airport. Together with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) through the help of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), a project worth of PHP 1.284 billion will enable the speed up air travel with the addition of having more launching flights at night.
On the other hand, the improvement of road access to a lot of tourism sites is another plan with a budget of more than PHP 800 million which will be worked on for the next three years.
Furthermore, funding of PHP 1.022 billion will be administered for the crafting of regional tourism development plans and masterplans.
Puyat affirmed, “TIEZA will work with the Department of Tourism, other relevant government agencies and the rest of the tourism stakeholders to re-invigorate the tourism sector and provide fresh opportunities again for the tourism enterprises and workers after the outbreak has subsided.”