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Learning from tourism’s rebound

The country performed well enough for the global industry to take note of the “impressive ranking of the Philippines as the world’s fourth fastest growing economy in 2021.

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Domestic-driven strategies helped cushion the effects of Covid-19 on many countries.

This was true for the Philippines’ tourism sector during the past two and half years, as it scrambled to regain its footing when all plans went awry because of the limitations world faced amid the coronavirus scare.

Although the tourism industry had been enjoying top revenues before the pandemic hit, it was one of the most widely affected as travel went completely still and strict health protocols practically killed the hospitality industry and related livelihoods.

Yet, with well-deserved triumph, the Department of Tourism under Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat reported significant gains even as the pandemic continues to pose risks and limitations.

The country performed well enough for the global industry to take note of the “impressive ranking of the Philippines as the world’s fourth fastest growing economy in 2021.”

This was, in fact, among the main topics at the Routes Asia 2022 held at the Da Nang International Exhibition Fair Centre, Vietnam this June.

A report on a travel site said, “Despite the travel restrictions caused by Covid-19, Philippine tourism saw some significant recovery contributing 10.4 percent to GDP in 2021 — thanks to our people-centered initiatives which aimed, first and foremost, to keep our tourism workers safe and sustain our MSME.”

That was what DoT Undersecretary Woodrow Maquiling Jr. said, in his talk at the Routes Asia “Panel Trends Discussion: Tourism Rebound — Future Travel,” which he based on the World Travel and Tourism Council’s latest Economic Impact Report.

Maquiling emphasized the tourism department’s “calculated strategies that included its massive vaccination of tourism workers, investment in human capital and provision of soft loans to small business players as key to the industry’s remarkable recovery,” the report added.

A sound plan and solid implementation do go a long way into addressing what challenges the country continues to face. Vision and determination will also see the Philippines through the changing times, where some of the most basic human needs are threatened by the effects of decades-long neglect and mismanaged priorities.

There is hope in seeing the incoming administration already at work making plans for the country’s economic recovery blueprint.

A statement released by Bongbong Marcos’ economic managers show encouraging proof. According to outgoing Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor and incoming finance chief Benjamin Diokno, the country was able to “(bounce back) and (return) to our robust growth path” even as the pandemic stalled “annual growth by at least 6 percent.”

In fact, “growing by 8.3 percent in the first quarter of 2022, exceeding Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand,” Diokno said the Philippines is “outperforming” its neighbors in Asia.

While soaring oil prices are affecting many aspects of the economy and people’s lives, the country can remain optimistic that it will survive potential crises simply because the Philippines is nature-blessed.

Aside from a strong agricultural development plan, resurging movement in the travel and tourism industry is propping up the economy once again, boosting our chances for national recovery.

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