Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Wednesday expressed confidence that this year, the tourism sector will recover from the impact of COVID-19.
Interviewed on Dobol B TV, Puyat pointed out that tourists were just waiting for our borders to open.
“When you talk about tourism, yes,” Puyat said when asked if the recovery of the tourism sector will happen this 2022.
“Hinihintay lang ng ating tourism stakeholders na magbukas. Ang pagbukas kasi for foreigners means that we are going back to normal,” she added.
(Tourism stakeholders were waiting for the country to open its borders. The opening for foreigners means that we are going back to normal).
As of Tuesday, Puyat said that a total of 10,676 foreign travelers arrived since the border of the country opened for them on February 10. Around 45% of the arrivals are balikbayans.
The foreigners came from the US, Canada, Australia, UK, South Korea, Germany, and Japan, according to Puyat.
For leisure, the DOT chief said the occupancy rate in hotels is now at 29%.
In Joseph Morong's report on 24 Oras, Puyat said that tourism stakeholders are offering affordable rates as the country opens up, "kasi siyempre [because of course] they want to entice the visitors."
The DOT wants travel requirements to be simplified, not just for foreign tourists but for domestic ones as well. "Gusto lang nga namin [We just want] fully vaccinated and minimum heath and safety protocols," Puyat said.
"I also remind our LGUs, sila rin naman ang nakiusap na magbukas tayo [they are the ones who urged that we open up] for foreigners and for tourists, so they should also help us make it simpler," she added.
Tourism's contribution to the economy plummeted to P873 billion in 2020 compared to P2.507 trillion in 2019, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.
In April, the Philippines will host the global summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council. —LBG/BM, GMA News