THE year 2020 is supposed to be the banner year for Philippine tourism, as projected by tourism players earlier this year.
But the unprecedented pandemic happened and the whole industry has to pause, realign resources, and rethink projects.
"We welcome 2020 with so much determination and enthusiasm with all plans ready to be rolled out, then the unprecedented Covid-19 happened. For most of us, many things have to be set aside because what was laid in front of us needs to be responded with urgency," Department of Tourism (DOT)-Davao Director Tanya Rabat-Tan said.
In a global context, the World Tourism Organization has estimated around 100 to 120 million jobs were at risk following the closures of borders, airports, and hotels as well as restrictions on mass gatherings, land travel and related services across the world.
In the Philippines, around 88 percent of the tourism-related business establishment expect losses of over 50 percent of their 2020 revenues.
This is reflected in the July 2020 study conducted by Isla Lipana & Co., the Philippine member firm of the PwC global network on the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the Philippine tourism industry.
It also reported that 63 percent of the tourism stakeholders also expect their businesses to normalize within six months to over a year.
"Such findings are worrying because the tourism industry contributed 12.7 percent of the country's GDP in 2019, and provided 5.71 million jobs in the same year," read portion of the study.
In Davao Region, tourism is slowly opening doors to tourists when the Enhance Community Quarantine was lifted middle this year.
However, many are still unable to fully recover with tourists being reluctant given threats of contracting the virus is still out in the open and with stringent measures set by the government making the whole tourism experience inconvenient on their part.
To help the tourism industry players bounce back, DOT-Davao launched the "Amping Kita."
"The 'Amping Kita' campaign is our response to the call of our regional tourism stakeholders to bring back travel confidence. We also strive to properly communicate our message of safe and responsible travel in the new normal," Tan said.
She explained, "Amping Kita" embodies the tourism department's proposition in the new normal -- speaking of blessing and goodwill from one person to another or to a place, and vice versa.
"Amping" means to "take care" or "with care" in English.
"It is a phrase bundled with a silent prayer, hope, and love. It is simple yet powerful and caring at the same time," she added.
She vowed to help tourism stakeholders in their journey to recovery through implementing measures that are responsive to the need of the people on the ground without losing sensitivity to reality.
The campaign also intends to advocate support for local tourism and bring back the pride of place. With digitalization at the heart, it strives to minimize critical touchpoints in the traveller's journey to restore confidence while keeping them enlightened, connected and safe.
To support this campaign, DOH-Davao has launched a series of multimedia collaterals for the public to better understand the objectives of the campaign.
A promotional video "Sa Davao-new Normal, Everything is Renewing", along with other materials, will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
"With 'Amping Kita', DOT-Davao intends to espouse "regional renewal" as bringing back travel confidence is best expressed by renewing one's confidence in the local tourism industry," she added.