CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The tourism industry in the province was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic but is more than halfway along the pathway to recovery.
Thus said Hotel and Restaurants Association in Pampanga Inc. (HARP) President Matt De Castro during the Balitaan Talakayan forum of the Central Luzon Media Association (CLMA) Pampanga Chapter on Thursday afternoon.
De Castro said the pandemic lockdowns and the restrictions were among the biggest challenges faced by the tourism industry not only in the province but worldwide.
“Every time tinatanong ko ang aming members kung kamusta ang occupancy, iisa lang ang sagot: malayo pa sa pre-pandemic level,” he said.
De Castro said foreign tourists are slowly returning to the country after the lifting of public health emergency status in the country.
Local tourists are helping save the business of many hoteliers and restaurateurs in the province during the height of the lockdown until today, he added.
“Very thankful kami sa mga local tourists natin kasi sila talagang ang bumuhay sa hotel and restaurant industry natin noong pandemic and up until this time, malakas pa rin ang local tourism natin,” De Castro said:
Due to fellow Filipinos’ support, De Castro said the Pampanga’s tourism sector is slowly regaining its vibrancy.
“As of now, siguro nasa 60% to 70% recuperation na tayo dito sa Pampanga in terms of occupancy rate at kung magtuluy-tuloy po ito, nakikita namin na aabot tayo ng at least 80% by next year,” he said.
De Castro added that despite the lifting of several health protocols, most tourism establishments in the province continue to observe minimum health standards.
“May mga alcohols pa rin at mga facemasks for the safety of our guests at ng staff na rin. Siguro isa rin ‘yun sa mga natutunan talaga natin sa pandemic para maiwasan na maulit 'yun” he said.