Millions of tourism industry workers in Philippines in dire crisis

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and prolonged lockdown in the Philippines, at least 4.6 million Filipinos in the tourism industry have been fallen into acute financial crisis.

According to Philippine Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, until October 2020, almost 77 percent of international tourism revenues year on year have been lost due to the ban on international tourist arrivals.

Philippines tourism sector employed 5.7 million people in 2019. As of October, 4.8 million workers have been affected — either they lost their jobs or their salaries got lower. The number have further increased.

In 2019 the Philippines recorded 8.26 million in international tourist arrivals and 110 million in domestic tourist arrivals. Tourism industries contributed 12.7 percent to the Philippine economy in 2019, the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA) said.

Although there has been repeatedly demand from the workers and owners of the tourist-related establishments in the Philippines, the country is yet to open borders for the foreigners and it is anticipated that this restriction is not going to be lifted until at least 50 percent of the Filipinos get vaccinated.

Policymakers in the country were hoping of restarting the tourism by lifting the travel ban as millions of people have already become jobless, there is no sign of any immediately initiative from the government in doing so due to public health issues. Meanwhile, the prolonged travel ban has resulted in closure of hundreds of bars, nightclubs, go-go bars, guest houses, hotels, restaurants, massage parlors etc. The beach, diving, ecotourism, arts and culture and farm sites are also suffering due to lack of income as foreigners are not visiting the country since March last year.

Despite the fact that the Philippines has been slowly beginning to reopen its tourist destinations for domestic travel with health and safety protocols, unless the travel restrictions on foreigner is lifted, there is no real hope of getting into normalcy soon.

Industry insiders predict – the post-pandemic scenario for the tourism industry in Philippines would extremely tough. Most of the business establishments in this sector will continue to incur financial loss for months, and things may not improve until the end of 2022.

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