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Tourism will recover well, DOT chief says

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By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The tourism industry will recover well from three months of quarantine and restore the jobs lost by millions of Filipinos dependent on the industry, according to the country’s tourism chief.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat gave this assurance on Thursday (June 25) in the wake of a report that cited the tourism industry’s increasing role in providing employment to Filipinos.

Puyat said she based her optimism on the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) report on the industry’s performance last year, which indicated an increase in tourism jobs of some 350,000, from 5.36 million to 5.71 million jobs. This represents an increase of 6.5 percent over the number of jobs in 2018.

“I have high hopes that the significant share of employment the tourism industry provides, as consistently indicated by the PSA’s annual reports, will help spur our sector’s recovery from the impact of this pandemic,” Puyat said.

She said the industry’s 13.5 percent share in the total employment in the country means that 14 out of 100 employed Filipinos were in tourism-related jobs. Tourism has been among the industries hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The recent easing of quarantine restrictions in some regions of the country has created a stir among industry stakeholders as tourism establishments, particularly the partial dine-in services in restaurants, were allowed to resume operations by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“Tourism stakeholders share the desire and determination of the nation’s labor force to get back to work as we embrace the New Normal,” Puyat said.

The tourism secretary earlier welcomed the PSA report on the share of tourism to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growing to 12.7 percent in 2019 from 12.3 percent in the previous year.

She said that the PSA report underscores the crucial role of the tourism industry as a vital component of the economy in terms of productivity and source of job opportunities.

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