ExecutiveChronicles.com | HSMA Issues Statement in Support of PH Tourism Stakeholders | A press statement issued during the Tourism Stakeholder’s Forum held online, has started to circulate over the weekend. The PH tourism stakeholders across the various sectors in the Philippine tourism industry have banded together to call on the government to provide much-needed financial support as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on its stakeholders.
In support of this call, the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association issued this statement:
6 August 2020
The HONORABLE MEMBERS OF THE PHILIPPINE CONGRESS
Bayanihan Act 2 Bill
Joint Houses of Congress
Dear Honorable Conferees of the Bicameral Committee,
I hope you find my message well during this unprecedented time!
By way of background, we are representing the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA Philippines), a Department of Tourism-recognized association of hotel and resort marketing leaders from more than 120 world-class destinations and properties in the Philippines.
As the voice of our sector, we are humbly reaching out to the members of this respectable committee to extend your support in restarting the now severely impacted the hospitality sector. We are crying for help due to the fact that most of our team members are still unable to report to work as part of the skeletal force arrangement in line with the COVID-19 prevention protocol. This situation has prevented many of the properties we represent to operate and in turn sustain the salaries due to every hotel and resort employees. This unfortunate incident has prompted many of us to think of approaches vital to our survival. Some of us have pivoted to online selling of consumer goods and products primarily because many of us never got a single centavo or even a can of sardines from the local government.
At work, our mission is clear and simple – to represent and become effective brand ambassadors of the Philippines to the world. We were sent out by our respective organizations to sell our wonderful destinations and let the world experience the always wonderful Filipino brand of service. Now more than ever, we need your kind assistance and support to save the larger Philippine tourism industry. Please save us and become our hero. Please fight for us because we are willing to fight for the Philippine brand of service.
Be that shining torch of hope that can enable us to roll-up our sleeves and continue our inspired work of making the Philippines a more fun destination once again. Your help now can go a long way in creating ripples that can rebuild our confidence to collectively rise up and aid this nation to heal as one.
Maraming salamat po.
Board of Trustees – Hotel Sales and Marketing Association
The industry has awaited the passage of House Bill N0. 6953 and Senate Bill No. 1564, both titled, “An Act Providing for Covid-19 Response and Recovery Interventions and Providing Mechanism to Accelerate the Recovery and Bolster the Resiliency of the Philippine Economy, Providing Funds Therefor, and for other purposes,” more popularly known as the Bayanihan 2 as a possible solution to current financial woes.
In 2019, the tourism industry brought in over P3 trillion in revenues, contributed 12.7% to the GDP, and employed 5.7 million people directly and benefitting millions more in indirect services. It was poised to put increases across the board in 2020 had it not been for the pandemic.
From January to July 2020, international visitors to the Philippines totaled 1,318,719 representing a decrease of 72.8 percent compared to 4,852,107 arrivals for the same period in 2019. Visitor receipts for the same period amounted to P81.05 billion, marking a decrease of 71.5 percent compared to P284.82 billion last year.
In light of these sobering figures, the tourism stakeholders around the country, respectfully urge the Bicameral Committee to reexamine the provisions of the House Bill No. 6953, specifically Section 7, (i) appropriating “Ten Billion Pesos (P10,000,000,000.00) to finance the programs of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) assisting the recovery of the tourism industry that shall include the provision of tourism infrastructures;”
The PH tourism stakeholders stated their views on a focus on cash benefits such as low-interest loan as such, “While we agree that infrastructure development is vital to the tourism industry, we believe that the more urgent matter, at this point in time, is ensuring the survival of an industry on the verge of collapse due to the effects of the pandemic. We need direct infusion to the stakeholders in the form of zero to low-interest loans with longer payment periods to allow us to fully recover from the effects of COVID-19. Infrastructure development can be done as conditions in the tourism industry normalize.”
“We, therefore, request that the amount appropriated for infrastructure development be used instead to fulfill the provisions in Section 3, (ff) pertaining to the actions to be taken by the Department of Tourism and consistent with the Senate version of the bill.”
The tourism industry has been greatly affected by the pandemic as businesses closed and people lost their jobs.
Currently, not much has been done yet towards the sector’s revival as other priorities have been set as of this time. The PH tourism stakeholders have appealed that “It is about time we get the vital financial aid from the government for the industry to survive.”