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Philippine Tourism, the Pandemic, and Sustainability

by the TwoEco Research Team

The industry has been battered by the pandemic, and moving forward will require a clear understanding of its public health and economic implications. Stakeholders must have a fair assessment of the uncertainties that lie ahead, and plan accordingly. While we can expect new measures to be adopted by government and enterprises to reduce the risk of viral transmission, tourism can only be revitalized if destinations work with their stakeholders in adopting and implementing these measures, planning for contingencies, and communicating effectively to the general public. Furthermore, as the industry struggles to get back on its feet, strategies must also aim for broader sustainability - reducing the industry’s environmental impact, diversifying markets to increase the industry’s resilience from external shocks, and developing new experiences and destinations in response to consumer demand.


The Philippine tourism industry has been crippled by the impact of COVID-19. But if it is to survive in any coherent form, it must begin to plan for the next five years.

This is not to diminish in any way the struggles of everyone in the industry, and the leadership of the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) and the other industry associations, or the broader governmental effort, the ordeal of patients and front liners, the challenges of many other industries and their workers, and the quiet compliance of the vast majority of citizens. Everyone has been focused on survival over the last two months, and new strategies, plans and programs had to be rolled out to meet the threat of both the pandemic and economic collapse. But it needs to be emphasized that the struggle to deal with public health and financial emergencies does not end when the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is lifted. Even as we struggle from day to day, we must begin thinking of the next five years. The tourism industry in particular must be ready.


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