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Tourism, Hospitality in Philippines Hit Hard by Pandemic

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There are very few industries in the Philippines that have not been dramatically impacted by Covid-19. Retailers, sports leagues, and airlines have all been impacted by the virus. Some, nearly crippled as there are businesses who will likely never open again.

Taking the Brunt It

While most have been devastated by this pandemic, it is likely that no industries have suffered more than tourism and hospitality. These industries survive off one thing – travel. There is a great need for people to come from other countries or other regions of the Philippines, using hotels or taking advantage of cruises, museum tours, or other venues that tourists are normally attracted to.

However, none of this was available. Travel restrictions all but eliminated tourists from coming to the Philippines. This not only impacted hotels, but casinos and other gaming establishments as well. In fact, there is great concern that the current state of the casino industry is so bleak that it may have a very difficult time overcoming this catastrophe.

The only saving grace is that these industries are funded and regulated by the government. As long as the central government is willing to support these casinos, keeping them in business, their chance to rebound is far more likely than for much of the rest of the hospitality and tourism industry. 

There is also the fact that the sheer size of some casinos will help to keep them alive. Larger casinos not only have more cash reserves on hand that they were able to use to help them through the pandemic shutdown, but they are the type of facilities that will draw tourists back once travel restrictions are loosened. The most recognized casino resorts in the Philippines are going to rebound because they will be the destination spots where tourists will return.

All Types of Tourism Affected

When most people think of tourism, they envision people taking vacations with a spouse or their family. They come to the Philippines because they want to see incredible sites, enjoy the waters and beaches, and have cuisine like no other on the planet.

However, tourism can also mean medical tourism. There are a number of countries offering visitors the chance to have a medical procedure performed while getting a vacation in at the same time. Ironically, during a pandemic, this industry is suffering as well. Many medical facilities have had to shut down their surgical or elective procedures out of fear of staff or patients contracting the virus.

Sports leagues have also been shut down during the pandemic. This not only denies fans the opportunity to watch and cheer on their favorite team, but many travel with the team. They go to opposing cities to cheer on their club while also taking in the sites of the city. This type of tourism has been denied as well, as all professional sports leagues were shut down during the pandemic.

Some of these leagues are starting to come back to life, but there has been a limitation on fan participation and involvement. Many stadiums are limiting the number of fans eligible to enter, and some are not allowing fans at all. This is hurting the tourism and hospitality industries, as traveling fans mean hotel sales, restaurant usage, and use of public transportation. Plus, visitors like to see local events and tourist attractions while in the city. None of this is going on now.

What the Future Holds

The problem for many of the businesses within these industries is that there is no timeline of when things will get back to some form of normalcy. It may be months, maybe even more than a year before tourists will be eligible to come from countries like China, Vietnam, and Australia. This may not even occur until some type of vaccine has been created and approved.

It has already been seven months since lockdown orders began, and most of these restaurants, hotels, bars, and other destinations have been shut down this entire time. People are without work, business owners are making no revenue, and taxes are not being paid. There is a desire to get these businesses back up and running, but when that will occur still remains to be seen. 

What is sure is that some of these businesses are closed for good. Large hotel chains, restaurants, and event centers will come back to life and offer the same great experience. However, it is the small eateries, dance clubs, and gift shops that are going to suffer. Many of these people have lost all of their money and will have nothing available to open their doors again. That is a huge loss, as these are usually some of the most popular places for tourist to visit.

This pandemic has cost millions of lives. Unfortunately, it will destroy the lives of untold tens of millions more.

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