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MANILA – Majority of the tourism players in the Philippines remains optimistic that their businesses will return to normal within six months to over a year.

According to the Philippine Tourism Survey: Covid-19 Edition conducted by Isla Lipana & Co./PwC Philippines (PwC), 63 percent of the tourism players remain optimistic that their businesses will be back on track next year.

The survey also showed that 88 percent of the respondents expect losses of over 50 percent of their 2020 revenues due to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) while 97 percent say that coronavirus has the potential for significant impact on their business operations.

The tourism players were asked about the challenges and concerns brought about by the pandemic as well as the ECQ in Luzon and other parts of the country.

The Philippine Tourism Survey: COVID-19 Edition is PwC’s collaboration with the Department of Tourism (DOT), as part of the firm’s commitment to supporting the DOT’s programs and initiatives.

The tourism sector grew to become one of the major industries in the country, contributing 12.7 percent of the country's GDP in 2019, representing a direct contribution of PHP2.48 trillion to the Philippine economy while providing jobs to 5.71 million Filipinos or 13.5 percent of the country's total employment.

DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo–Puyat said the DOT will sustain tourism businesses through proper financial support and policies, which are covered in the DOT’s Tourism Response and Recovery Program.

“We are working towards the establishment of proper infrastructure, and enhanced health and sanitation protocols in line with the standards of New Normal. Our goal is to build a more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive tourism industry,” she said.

Atty. Alexander Cabrera, PwC Philippines’ chairman and senior partner, is optimistic that the Philippine tourism sector will recover from the impact of COVID-19.

“Our country has beautiful islands that will once again attract the tourists after the pandemic. Nevertheless, we should take this opportunity to rebuild the sector by helping the players upskill and digitalize, rethink the way they do business, and ensure compliance with safety and health standards. Promoting medical tourism and agri-tourism may be among the programs that our country can prioritize to help restart the sector,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera thanked the 247 tourism players “who have shared their insights with us.”

“While we are all experiencing difficulties at this time, we should remember that through our combined efforts and hard work in the past, we grew the sector and made it one of the top contributors to our country’s GDP. With our renewed commitment, I am confident that we will achieve better success after this pandemic,” he said. (PNA)