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House wants contingency plan to cushion impact of nCoV on tourism

February 04, 2020 - Tuesday 6:02 PM by MDM

Article Banner Image Arriving passengers and airline crew wear protective masks at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila on February 3, 2020. Ted ALJIBE / AFP

MANILA — House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has called on the House Committee on Tourism and House Committee on Economic Affairs to start working with the Department of Tourism (DOT) to assess the short- and medium-term effects the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019 nCov) on the tourism and travel industry, saying measures should be taken to cushion impact of the problem and harness other tourism markets.

“We acknowledge the necessity of the decision of some airlines to cancel flights and the government’s imposition of temporary travel ban from Hubei, China and other provinces of China that are seriously affected by the dreaded 2019-nCov, but we still have to prepare a plan to lessen its impact.” Cayetano said in a statement.

He said while the government is intensifying measures to prevent the spread of the 2019 nCoV, 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.”

Cayetano also underscored the need for the country to be ready in case the outbreak is prolonged. “It should not be a just a wait-and-see attitude because we don’t want our tourism industry to suffer,” he said.

Cayetano noted that in Malaysia, the Tourism Arts and Culture Ministry has formed a Tourism Recovery Committee following the nCoV outbreak.

The committee is tasked to ensure the safety and comfort of all tourists by conducting health screening on all tourists using air, water, and land entry points to Malaysia.

The committee will also come up with plans to find new markets after the Chinese government banned overseas tours and the purchase of flights and hotels abroad.

Similarly, Cayetano has called on the various agencies of the Philippine government to work together to come up with a comprehensive contingency plan to cushion the impact of the 2019 nCoV not just on the tourism industry but all other sectors in the Philippines. MDM