Displaced tourism workers, guides can apply for cash aid

·2 min read

DISPLACED employees of around 7,951 accredited primary tourism enterprises and an estimated 8,433 locally-licensed primary tourism enterprises in the country could receive the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) P3.1 billion assistance.

The DOT and the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) released a joint memorandum, which lays down guidelines in the grant of financial assistance to displaced employees of tourism industries.

Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) president Carlo Suarez told SunStar Cebu that this would provide relief to enterprises and displaced tourism workers.

“The Bayanihan Act 2 is very good news for the tourism industry. We are one of the industries badly hit during these Covid times and a lot of tourism workers are displaced. This help that the government can extend is very positive. We are closely working with the DOT on how we can avail (ourselves) of this grant,” Suarez said.

From the month of January to June 2020, Central Visayas’ tourism industry suffered an estimated P87 billion in foregone revenues due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

DOT 7 Director Shahlimar Tamano said the tourism industry, which was the economy’s major growth driver in the region last year, was weighed down by lockdown restrictions and the closing of both domestic and international borders.

The industry saw the sudden decline of millions of tourists whose economic contributions once propelled the development of Cebu, tagged before as the country’s premier tourist destination.

The budget allocation is P3 billion for displaced tourism workers and P100 million for displaced tour guides.

Based on guidelines for financial and cash-for-work programs, DOT-accredited tourism enterprises defined primary businesses as hotels; resorts; homestay; apartment hotels and Mabuhay accommodation for accommodation establishments; travel and tour agencies; transport operators exclusively serving tourists for land, sea and air transport; and other primary tourism enterprises like Mice facility, Mice organizer, adventure/sports and eco-tourism facility and tourism frontliner like tourism trainer.

Secondary enterprises are tourism-related establishments like restaurants, tourism training centers, tourist shops, zoos, tourism recreation centers, agri-tourism farm sites, gallery/museums and tourism entertainment complex.

Also included are the Philippine Commission On Sports Scuba Diving; dive establishments; dive professionals, dive masters and instructors; and health and wellness services like ambulatory clinics, tertiary hospitals and spas.

Community-based tourism organizations should be registered with respective national government agencies or local government units as of Dec. 31, 2019.

For displaced tour guides, they should be a member of a tour guide organization or association registered with a local government unit (LGU) or a national government agency, as of Dec. 31, 2019. They should have a valid DOT accreditation or an LGU license issued not later than Aug. 31, 2020. They must undergo training for tour guides to be conducted by the DOT after submission of an application for financial assistance.

Interested applicants may get in touch with the DOT regional office or refer to the Dole-DOT guidelines. (JOB)