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‘Easing of curbs brings tourists back to PHL’

More tourism workers have returned to work with the easing of travel restrictions in the country, the Department of Tourism (DOT) reported on Tuesday.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette T. Romulo Puyat noted several tourism stakeholders have informed her department that they have started rehiring their displaced workers since the country reopened its doors to foreign tourists last February 10.

Since the easing of travel restrictions, she said they registered 313,050 international arrivals.

Most of the travelers were from the United States, Canada and South Korea.

Puyat said the rise in tourism arrivals allowed more establishments to resume their operations during the first quarter of the year after closing down with the onset of Covid-19 in 2020.

About a fifth or 1.1 million of the 5.7 million tourism workers were initially affected by the pandemic, according to Puyat.

“Since we’ve reopened and eased travel restrictions all over the country, many [tourism establishments], which were closed down during the onset of the pandemic have resumed their operations,” the tourism chief said in a television interview on Tuesday.

Puyat said they are still waiting for the July data from the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) to determine the exact number of workers who benefited with revival of the country’s tourism industry.

However, based from the latest displacement report of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the number of permanently displaced workers registered by the accommodation and food service activities has significantly dropped last March.

During the said period, DOLE was only able to record 631 additional jobless workers from 53 establishments in the said industry.

This was significantly lower compared to the permanently displaced workers last February (5,139) and January (5,782).

Puyat said they would be able to sustain the tourism gains with the continued implementation of minimum health standards nationwide to stop the spread of Covid-19 infections.

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