Press Release
June 12, 2020

Tolentino: Emergency financial stimulus package needed to aid the domestic tourism industry

The Senate is set to look into the possibility of the government providing emergency financial stimulus packages to assist the domestic tourism industry, one of the hardest-hit by the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

"Before it becomes too late, the time to act is now," Tolentino said in filing Senate Resolution No. 335.

More than 80 percent of the country's tourism industry, Tolentino noted, is still made up of micro, small and medium enterprises.

This comprise of tour operators, travel agencies, small retail establishments and small hotels which Tolentino said may be unable to survive the slump in the number of tourists compared to bigger establishments.

As early as February 2 this year, even prior to the enforcement of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the Philippines has cancelled flights to and from selected cities in China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korean and Taiwan for a period of time.

"This disruption in aviation definitely affect the tourism industry in the country where thousands, if not millions of Filipinos depend their livelihoods on," he said.

Tolentino emphasized the need to assist the tourism industry not just to support the affected establishments, employers and employees to maintain the country's economic growth but also to ensure that safety measures are in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

With Covid-19 being declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a public health emergency of international concern, Tolentino said that some countries in Asia have started implementing economic and fiscal emergency response mechanisms to counter the damaging effects of the disease.

Indonesia, for instance, announced its almost $742-million stimulus package for its tourism, airline and housing sectors hit by the Covid-19 outbreak, Tolentino said.

The said financial stimulus package include interest rebates, tax incentives, marketing budgets and cash grants to help speed up the recovery of the affected industries.

The conduct of an inquiry, in aid of legislation, is in response to the negative effects of Covid-19 in the country, Tolentino stressed.

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