MANILA, May 22 (Xinhua) -- The COVID-19 pandemic fallout has bitten into the Philippine tourism sector, with international visitor arrivals in the country fell by more than half in January to April this year over the same period of last year.
"For the first four months of 2020, the DOT recorded a 54.02 percent decrease in foreign arrivals, the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) said in a statement on Friday.
The declaration of lockdown in mid-March restricted land, air, and sea travel and suspended mass transportation. The lockdown led to the suspensions of all incoming and outgoing flights, except for international and domestic sweeper flights to repatriate foreigners out of the Philippines and to brings in distressed Filipinos from abroad.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat revealed in the statement that the government has prepared initial safety plans and protocols for travelers and tourism enterprises for the new normal in travel after lifting community quarantine in the future.
According to Puyat, the safety plans and protocols include regular sanitation and disinfection, regular inspections of tourism establishments, and implementation of physical distancing measures for tourist transportation and limiting the customer capacity of accommodation and tourism-related enterprises.
In 2018, the tourism industry made up 12.7 percent of the Philippines' GDP and provided 5.4 million jobs for Filipinos.
More than 8.2 million foreign tourists visited the Philippines in 2019.
The Philippines' tourism revenue from foreign arrivals has plunged around 35 percent in the first three months of 2020. Enditem