THE Department of Tourism (DOT) is appealing to local government units (LGUs) to provide incentives or defer the collection of taxes or other financial obligations of tourism-related businesses in their locality.
This was what DOT Assistant Secretary Roberto Alabado III told participants of the Benita and Catalino Yap Foundation Philippine Innovation Month Visayas-Mindanao Edition online forum, echoing the appeal of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat as the tourism industry continues to bear the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic.
“They have been giving you a lot of taxes in the past two to three decades, and this is the time where we should support them so that they will continue to provide our LGUs with the financial support through taxation in the future,” Alabado said during the Tuesday, Feb. 2, forum.
Alabado said the tourism industry has been concerned with the mounting financial difficulties faced by tourism stakeholders.
“That’s what we are appealing for. If we’re going to recover, we recover together—the national government agencies, the LGUs and the private sector. Let’s all work together to provide the needed life support for our tourism industry,” he said.
Alabado said prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s visitor arrivals hit 8.3 million with P482 billion in visitor receipts.
Unfortunately in 2020, only 1.32 million tourists entered the country with P80.40 billion visitor receipts.
The Philippines lost P400 billion in visitor receipts last year.
Tourist arrivals in the country plunged 84 percent in 2020, creating a domino effect on other industries in transportation, accommodation and related business establishments putting the jobs of 5.7 million tourism workers at risk.
Now, the DOT is setting its sights on domestic tourism which, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority, generated P3.1 trillion in 2019.
“The Secretary is going around the Philippines right now because there are a lot of local government units that want to open,” Alabado said, adding that the DOT is looking at tourism products that are safe, outdoor and where social distancing measures can be achieved. (JOB)