CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Northern Mindanao's tourism sector has been one of the hardest-hit by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, with losses reaching as high as more than P1 billion.
This assessment was made by the National Economic and Development Authority in Region 10, based on the tourism outputs the region reported in the previous year.
NEDA-10 director Myla Fe Cariño said that between March 15 to April 30, the estimated losses to the tourism sector could reach P905,313,492 from domestic tourists, and P61,184,124 from foreign visitors, totaling to P966,497,616.
But since the extension of general community quarantine in different cities and provinces in the region, NEDA-10 estimates that from March 15 to May 15, the region would have recorded losses of up to P1,354,811,064 from domestic tourists, and P85,705,045 from foreign tourists, for a total of P1,440,516,109.
"This was also based on our previous data, which estimates that local tourists usually spend P2,117 per day, and the foreigners spend P5,497 daily," Cariño said.
Even if the quarantine is lifted in the region, she said the tourism industry would still have to cope with the losses while adjusting to the "new normal" arrangements.
"Based on the national survey, only 24 percent have expressed to travel to go on vacation, while 74 percent are not going. Other than that, hotels and resorts need to reconfigure their accommodation to comply with DoH (Department of Health) protocols, which means all rooms are only for single occupancy. Can you imagine if there is a family of four on vacation?," Cariño said.
Cariño said the economy can only fully recover when Covid-19 vaccines are already available.
Lanex Bregonos, owner of Zyll's Airlines Booking Office here, said that since the community quarantine was imposed on March 15, his airplane ticket sales are virtually non-existent.
"I am currently making ends meet with my savings, I am waiting for the reopening of flights even just for domestic destinations," he said, saying he has no alternative means of income as of the moment.