Biz owners remain hopeful in Q4, for downgrade in restriction status

·3 min read

THE country will enjoy thriving a business environment in the remaining months of the year, so long as there will be looser restrictions to support the

economy.

“It is the varying level of lockdowns that impact the performance of the economy or industry,” said Alfred Reyes, president of Hotel, Resort and Restaurants Association of Cebu.

Reyes said it’s the quarantine restrictions that are holding the economy to rebound. If these restriction levels are eased or lifted, and everyone in the community is doing their part in containing this pandemic by observing proper health protocols and getting the vaccination “then we will see a favorable business environment.”

“In hotel industry, for instance, if Cebu is downgraded to a modified general community quarantine status then it is able to welcome domestic tourists from other parts of the country. We will have a favorable tourism business,”he said.

Reyes said while most of the hospitality businesses have been getting revenues from operating as quarantine hotels, the country’s domestic tourism is driven by the family market, a segment that is still bounded by restrictions.

Cebu City and Cebu Province have been placed under a regular general community quarantine from Oct. 1 to 31, 2021.

Business owners in Cebu have been praying for a better fourth quarter performance, banking on the expected surge in spending during the holiday season and the so-called election fever which will run until May 2022.

Confidence survey

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas survey, Filipino consumers and local businessmen are both optimistic about the fourth quarter of 2021.

Consumer sentiment for the fourth quarter of 2021 improved as the confidence increased to 2.7 percent from the previous survey result of 1.3 percent.

“Respondents attributed their optimism to the availability of more jobs, additional and higher income, effective government policies and programs, and stable prices of commodities,” the BSP said.

Meanwhile, Filipino businessmen remained optimistic for the next quarter as the overall confidence index increased slightly to 31.9 percent from 31.4 percent a quarter ago.

Filipino-Cebuano Business Club chairman Rey Calooy said the performance of the remaining three months of the year will be highly depended on how long Cebu could hold its GCQ status or downgrade to a looser restriction level.

“The fourth quarter outlook will depend per industry because industries now are dependent of the (health) protocols,” said Calooy, citing that tourism will still be on the losing side, since travel hasn’t resumed fully.

“We expect increased in consumption spending during this fourth quarter because we have a strong workforce in winner industries who are willing to spend for the holidays,” he said.

‘Don’t stop spending’

But despite the uncertainty, economist Ronilo Balbieran m, in his recent visit to Cebu, told the business community not to stop spending.

“Let’s put our acts together to accelerate recovery,” he said.

Balbieran explained that continued spending whether for consumer goods, investments including expansion and miscellaneous help cushion the impact of the pandemic to the economy.

He noted that spending at this time gives consumers the opportunity to buy products at cheaper price as demand is still weaker.

Balbieran expects “revenge spending” will happen as soon as the country gradually recovers from this pandemic. “We have to prepare ourselves and our businesses for this surge,” he said. (KOC)

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