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Experts see many silver linings in Phl tourism as hotels back in business

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Text and photo by Monsi A. Serrano

More than being the face of Philippine culture and values, hospitality has been the trait on which hotels of the five-star class are built in this country.

Modesty aside, no place in the world can stake a claim to the hospitality industry the way we Filipinos do – with natural cheerfulness, warmth, sincerity and care in the service of guests.

So beyond the best-polished marble floors, the rose-hinted scent of wooden panels and staircases, and the air of luxury breathed between sips of champagne and nibbles of caviar, what’s been missed most in our lock-downed hotels were the smiles and ministrations that cheered the heart.

The pandemic had truly struck hard in the industry of accommodation, with grand events and year-long reservations had to be canceled for the time being until all the health and safety protocols were implemented and the adaption to the digital technology to make the customer experience safe and efficient.

With the pandemic is better understood, the hotel industry has come back to life with scientific and internationally-accepted health risk mitigation protocols in place. Given this reality on the ground, experts at the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Economic Impact Report presented and affirmed that the Philippine tourism industry is already on its way to recovery and the promising forecast of 6.7 percent over the next 10 years has spurred hope and inspirations to many industry stakeholders in the country.

Travel and tourism’s economic impact on the country

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council Economic Impact Report, the country’s travel and tourism have breathed life into the Philippine economy and generated USD41 billion in 2021 and contributed 10.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Pre-pandemic, the country’s travel and tourism industry was booming. However, since April 2020 when the government needed to implement lockdown, there’s been zero revenue in the tourism industry and the dreadful forecast is that about 5-10 million jobs are to be lost at the end of 2020.  However, amid a challenging time for the industry, it was reported that the sector has recovered 1.3 million jobs in the same year, raising the country’s total tourism workers to 7.8 million.

Speaking to the media, WTTC President and CEO Julia Simpson said that the growth in domestic travel is a result of the government efforts to ease up restrictions in the country and slowly opening of the economy.

“The sector supported 7.8 million jobs in the Philippines, representing an impressive 20 percent rise from 2020. Our expert analysis shows that the economy here, the travel and tourism economy, has turned a corner and is firmly on the road to recovery,” Simpson noted.

She also revealed that by 2032, the global tourism body predicts that Philippine travel and tourism contribution to GDP could be worth in excess of USD155 billion, accounting for 21.4 percent of the whole economy.

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