(Eagle News)–Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has urged the public to explore the country this year rather than go on a trip abroad, as he noted what he said could be the economic impact of the temporary ban on travelers from China and its special administrative regions on the Philippines’ tourism sector.
In a statement, Gatchalian noted that Chinese tourists are the country’s second largest tourism market next to South Koreans.
He said based on DOT records, 1,626,309 out of the total 7.4 million international tourist arrivals from January to November of 2019 came from mainland China.
Visitors from mainland China, he said, were also the second biggest tourist spenders in the country, with US$979.4 million or around ₱51 billion spent in the country in the first half of 2019.
He added more recently, the tourism industry of Negros Oriental experienced a “big wave” of booking cancellations immediately after it was reported that the two persons who tested positive for the novel coronavirus visited the province.
Gatchalian also called on the DOT to embark on an aggressive marketing campaign to intensify the promotion of domestic destinations.
He said this will help the micro and small entrepreneurs and the menial workers in the regions to “cope with possible economic vulnerabilities.”
“Maraming apektado sa travel ban, nandiyan ang mga bangkero, tour guides, mga ordinaryong vendor, lahat yan apektado kapag walang turista. Kaya imbes na magbakasyon tayo sa ibang bansa, dito na lang at matutulungan pa natin sila,” Gatchalian said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has imposed the temporary ban on China and its SARs, Macau and Hong Kong, after the Philippines confirmed its first 2019-nCoV case.
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China.