The tourism industry, one of the most affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic for two years now, will flourish anew under the leadership of Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso.
The outgoing Manila mayor and Aksyon Demokratiko presidential bet made the promise in Quirino province on Thursday, saying affected tourist spots especially in far-flung areas will get assistance from the national government if he wins the May 9 polls.
“If these things can create jobs and opportunities, then it is in line with our goals and aspirations. I, together with (running mate) Doc Willie (Ong), we have already said that we will prioritize life and livelihood in the first two years. And this will be supported as a matter of compromise and promise and commitment to the Quirino people especially in this area,” Domagoso said in a mix of English and Filipino during an interview aired on social media.
Domagoso and his slate held a town hall meeting where Mayor Nieverose Meneses presented a video montage of the province’s tourist attractions.
Meneses is a member of the indigenous people’s Bugkalot tribe in Nagtipunan town.
Among the attractions were the Landingan Viewpoint, an elevated spot that provides a full view of the town of Nagtipunan, river, and landscapes; 50-meter high Mactol Falls; Bimmapor rock formation that resembles the shape of a sunken ship with only the upper decks protruding; and Pusuac cave and watershed.
As in other sectors of the economy, residents of Quirino working in the tourism industry lost their jobs.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the contribution of Tourism Direct Gross Value Added to the Philippine economy in 2020, as measured by the Gross Domestic Product, was estimated at 5.4 percent or PHP973.31 billion.
It was lower by 61.2 percent compared to the PHP2.51 trillion in 2019.
All forms of tourism expenditures posted downturns in 2020: inbound tourism expenditure declined by 77.9 percent, domestic tourism expenditure by 82.3 percent, and outbound tourism expenditure by 73.2 percent, according to PSA data released in June last year.
Internal tourism expenditure, comprising inbound and domestic tourism expenditure, decreased by 81.6 percent.
Inbound tourism expenditure refers to the expenditure of non-resident visitors (foreign visitors and Filipinos permanently residing abroad) while domestic tourism expenditure covers expenditures of resident visitors within the country either as domestic trip or part of an international trip.
The tourism industry sector employed about 4.68 million in 2020, lower by 18.1 percent compared to 5.72 million in 2019.
In the same year, the share of employment in tourism industries to total employment in the country was recorded at 11.9 percent. (PNA)