MANILA – The tourism industry of the country is badly hit by the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. Among them is the accommodation and hospitality sector like hotels, restaurants and travel agencies that cater to local and international tourists and travelers.
According to Rafael Chico, legislative and liaison officer of the 270-strong Philippine Hotel Owners’ Association, about 70-80 percent of their members are in the brink of closure because of Covid-19 pandemic and even if the country will be under the general community quarantine (CGQ).
“Napakalaki na ang lugi sa accommodation business. Seguro about 70-80 percent ng miyembro namin are not operating or nag-total shutdown na,” (The accommodation business has already suffered huge losses. I think about 70-80 percent of our members are shutting down or not operating anymore), he said. Under the GCQ, accommodation business, restaurants, leisure and kid’s stuff are not yet totally allowed to operate.
He also feared that a total of 75,000 hospital workers in the country will be affected unless the government will assist the sector. In early May, Marco Polo, a five-star hotel in Davao City announced its closure due to the pandemic (May 8 issue of Sandigan News). About 300-400 employees and workers are affected by the decision of the management.
Moreover, Chico said another Hotel-Casino in Pasay is about to lay-off more than 1,000 of their workforce in June following the issuance of Department of Tourism Administrative Order No. 2020-02, requiring only 50 percent guest capacity and maintaining a skeletal operating force when it resumes to operate.
He laments that the pandemic came during the peak season. “Supposedly peak season namin ngayon. Masaya kami last year dahil about 8.2 milyon ang tourist arrivals pero ngayong 2020 ay nakaproblema tayo,” (It is supposedly peak season now. We were happy last year because of 8.2 million tourist arrivals but we have this problem in 2020), he said.
He further said that without government’s support, hundreds of hotels will be affected and thousands of hospitality jobs are at stake. Chico said, “The association has appealed for financial lifeline, labor force support; and, travel stimulus from the government.”