THE Department of Tourism in Davao Region (DOT-Davao) reported a 50 percent decline in the tourist arrival for the first quarter of 2020 due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
In a situation report during the Facebook live conference with the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP), DOT-Davao Director Tanya Rabat-Tan bared that tourist arrivals in the region in the first quarter of 2020 decreased by 50.91 percent to 774,857 from 1,578,356 tourist arrivals in the same period in 2019.
While there is no definite number yet, she said the tourism department is expecting losses in the revenue of the travel and tourism sectors.
She said, right now, the majority of their efforts and resources are spent in sending people back home through sweeper flights rather than inviting tourists to visit the region.
"[There is] also partial to total closure of destinations and tourism-related establishments due to the travel restrictions and closure of MICE (meetings, incentives, conference, and events/exhibitions)-related businesses, and the reduction in employment and income for those working in tourism-related establishments," she said.
"Being in the Category IV Industry, the destinations, activities, and tourism-related establishments will be among the last to be able to operate, without government interventions, MSMEs would not be able to survive," she added.
She said the agency is hoping that the Philippine Economic Stimulus Act will be approved as it will fund the tourism response and recovery program proposed by the department.
In order to help the industry recover, Tan said the agency has focused on equipping their stakeholders with digital marketing knowledge and crisis management.
She bared that among the programs that the DOT is giving to their stakeholders are training on digital marketing skills, virtual selling and promotion, and certification programs for managers on tourism crisis management response, carrying capacity, visitor management, and site management.
Tan said the local stakeholders were also provided with training on product development for nature-based tours, health and wellness tour, and farm tours.
She said the growing interests of people in supporting local products is an opportunity that will help the tourism sector, including farm-tourism type of destinations, to bounce back.
"I sense a greater appreciation now of people supporting and buying local goods and supplies. And this will be good for our local farmers and agricultural industries. It is a good direction that we are going. More on back to basics," she said.
"In planning to move forward, we capitalize on gaining back the confidence of travellers that they feel safe and secure and to achieve this, we equip the stakeholders with appropriate tools and knowledge for the tourism workers and the enterprises," Tan added.