CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: In its “#TravelSmart: Safe and Sustainable Tourism in the New Normal” web forum, the Department of Tourism (DOT) in collaboration with PLDT/Smart communications tackled the changing travel landscape and the role of digitalization in the tourism sector in the face of the new normal.
The webinar provided a quick review of the challenges being faced with by the tourism industry and presented digital tools for the public and private sectors to use in the midst of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the country.
“It is time to part our curtain of gloom that has been plaguing our country. We should move forward in promoting tourism again,” Smart Communications president Al S. Panlilio shared in his opening statement.
The country’s tourism industry, which was experiencing an all-time high especially in domestic tourism expenditure in the past couple of years and contributing to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 12.7 percent (P 2.48 Trillion) in 2019 underwent a huge dent in its performance at the start of the first quarter of 2020 as a consequence of COVID-19 disrupting travel conventions worldwide, leaving many Filipinos out of job due to closure of some businesses.
In response to this, the DOT braces for rehabilitating and developing a resilient tourism industry through digitalization and leveraging on technologyies as a means to further enact health safety protocols without compromising comfort that is consistent with global health practices of the World Head Organization (WHO) and the Department of Health (DOH).
To bolster the capabilities of domestic tourism businesses to adapt to the new normal, the DOT has also partnered with the Board of Investments (BOI) to let businesses avail themselves of incentives to upgrade facilities to conform to the health standards.
“There’s no turning back to the digital tide that the pandemic has swept in. Together, we can all recover as one,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat remarked.