OH HOW quickly things can change. Just last year, all projections towards tourism, travel, and transportation were optimistic, as economic chiefs predict a six percent economic growth in this year's first quarter alone, and bankers expect credit upgrades in the next two years.
A few days ago however, the stock market blares red as it continues to weaken amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). In hopes to cushion the painful economic impact of lost major tourism markets due to the travel bans (around P43 billion revenue loss), the tourism chief and the President himself, encouraged Filipinos to travel locally. Ironically, tourism events in the country, like festivals were cancelled due to the Department of Health's recommendation against crowd-drawing activities. This brings in a dilemma, a challenge faced especially by Tourism advocates: "Where do we go from here?"
The truth is, the international travel market is what makes local travels for ordinary Filipinos possible. Obviously, a culture of tourism is promoted by the local tourism advocates and players themselves. The tourism industry, which includes hotels or accommodations, and leisure, food and beverage, transportation services, local tourism products and livelihood, and other tourism-characteristic products, account for the country's 10 percent of gross domestic product. Statistics also confirm that 1 out of 11 jobs are tourism-related.
Now, if said millions of people who are involved in the tourism industry will lose said revenues, a significant chain reaction to their livelihood will deplete their resources to travel locally. Although domestic tourism may help fill up hotels, and engage the services of local guides and tourism front liners, there is still that gnawing feeling of an industrial fall which even small sari-sari stores will unfortunately feel.
"Where do we go from here?" Take up some of your savings and book a trip to your dream beach experience. Go ride your bike to a nearby hill and buy some snacks from its local shop. Buy local crafts, and eat at local diners. Take time to travel and experience our local paradise. It may not be much, but it can help people in these trying times.
We thank all our coffee farmers and coffee players for contributing so much in the recently held 3rd La Trinidad Coffee Festival! Iyaman! Truly, "Seng-ew ni Kape" brings "Ulnos ni Umidi." Let us all brew unity through coffee. Unfortunately, due to health concerns, our Otop celebration, the Strawberry Festival 2020, was cancelled. Alternative community development activities like clean-up drives and beautification are proposed especially in the Strawberry Farm area. We hope that things will get better in the summer as the municipality will prepare for the Highland Vegetable Week, and the town's Foundation Day. Let us all take care of our health!