P43-B stimulus package for tourism being prepared in House
MANILA, Philippines — A P43 billion stimulus package is being prepared in the House of Representatives to help the tourism sector affected by the coronavirus crisis.
Laguna 3rd District Rep. Sol Aragones, who chairs the House committee on tourism, said in a statement released Friday night that the budget shall be used for incentives for domestic tourism, interest-free loans for facility improvements, participation in tourism fairs to restore or identify new target markets, and other forms of tourism promotion.
The P43 billion budget for the tourism sector will be a part of the economic stimulus package being prepared by the House Defeat COVID-19 Committee (DCC) Economic Stimulus Response Cluster.
To recall, the House committee on tourism held a meeting earlier this week to discuss how the tourism sector could recover from the pandemic.
“Nagkakasundo tayo, iisa yung thought natin na domestic tourism ‘yung linyang tatahakin natin… At the end of the day, importante magkaroon ng COVID-free model that will serve as standard for other hotels at lahat lahat pa na makapagsimula tayo ng turismo,” Aragones said.
“Ang bottomline ng usapan natin ay gusto na natin makita ng ‘new normal’ sa mundo ng turismo,” she added.
During the meeting, Department of Tourism (DOT) Assistant Secretary Roberto Alabado presented the breakdown of the budget which was as follows:
-P36 billion: provide more employment to people as soft loans
-P4 billion: jumpstart projects of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority that are in the pipeline
-P500 million: marketing and support programs to promote domestic tourism, travel facilitation and intensified product market and development
-P500 million: fund international market promotions and development of marketing materials and collaterals
-P500 million: capacity building for the industry stakeholders, including training of all stakeholders for the “new normal”
-P1.5 billion: institutional support program to include tourism crisis response and economic support fund, which can be used by the private sector for their activities
In the same meeting, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that the tourism sector is “probably the hardest-hit economic sector in this crisis.”
The tourism secretary said there is an estimated decrease of 40.2 percent in the number of foreign arrivals in the Philippines from January to March this year, as compared to figures from the same period in 2019.
“We also estimate revenue from foreign arrivals from the period January to March of 2020 to have reached P79.8 billion, or a decrease of -40.62 percent compared to P134.3 billion from January to March of 2019,” Puyat said.
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