Press Release
May 21, 2020

Tolentino urges DOT to formulate roadmap, stimulus package to revive tourism sector

The Department of Tourism (DOT) must formulate a roadmap and stimulus package that will help the tourism industry recover from the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, administration Senator Francis "Tol" Tolentino.

During the Senate hearing on COVID-19, Tolentino said the DOT should prepare a roadmap for the recovery of the tourism sector before the lifting of all restrictions imposed by government to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

"This year was supposed to be the golden year for Philippine tourism but the pandemic happened. Domestic tourism must be promoted to revive the industry and provide livelihood to 5.4 million employees affected by COVID-19," said Tolentino.

The lawmaker said several countries already have their respective roadmap and stimulus plan for their tourism industry.

Tolentino said Indonesia has already opened its domestic tourism while restaurants and hotels in Greece will resume operation on May 25 and June 1, respectively.

"Tourism in US states like Florida and California and countries like Cyprus, Italy. Iceland, Carribean Islands (Saint Lucia), Spain and Aruba are expected to resume next month," Tolentino added.

According to Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, they have prepared a tourism response program that will help resuscitate the sector.

Tourism Undersecretary Art Boncato informed Tolentino that around 1,000 hotels all over the country with more than 64,000 rooms are now functional, providing accommodation to those under quarantine.

Boncato said 50 percent of these hotels will be allowed to operate under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

Tolentino also called on DOT to formulate a stimulus package for the tourism industry, particularly small hotels, to enable them to stand on their feet.

During the hearing, Tolentino encouraged all government agencies concerned to adopt a digital health passport to make travel easier and less worrisome.

Tolentino explained that the digital health passport will contain the health record of its holder so it would be easier for any country to access the person's health history even while on transit.

"Bago pa man makarating sa kanyang destinasyon, malalaman na ng kanyang pupuntahang bansa kung ano ang estado ng kanyang kalusugan," Tolentino said.

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