House seeks contingency plan to lessen impact of nCoV on tourism

Aileen Cerrudo

The House of Representatives is seeking a contingency plan to lessen the effects of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) threat on the country’s tourism and travel industry.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has called on the House Committee on Tourism and House Committee on Economic Affairs to work with the Department of Tourism (DOT) in assessing the short- and medium-term effects of the 2019-nCov.

In a statement, Cayetano said the House acknowledges the government’s decision to impose a temporary travel ban from Hubei, China and other provinces of China. However, he said there should be a way to lessen its impact on tourism.

“The House of Representatives wants to work with the tourism and services sector to ensure that tourism growth will not be derailed in the next few months,” he said.

Based on the report of the DOT, Philippine tourist arrivals reached 7.4 million from January to November 2019. It is 15.58% higher compared to the 6.4 million in 2018.

DOT records show that 1.63 million of the total 7.4 million international tourist arrivals from January to November of 2019 were Chinese.

The House Speaker also called on other agencies to work together in coming up with a comprehensive contingency plan to cushion the impact of the 2019-nCoV.

“The government must pool its resources to prevent this public health issue from becoming an economic crisis,” he said.—AAC

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