Philippines lays the groundwork for Covid and typhoon recovery


The Philippines enters 2022 with high hopes for global travel to resume, despite continued challenges from the Omicron variant and damage from Super Typhoon Rai in December 2021.

Talk to TTG Asia, Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones, chief operating officer of the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines, said there were telltale signs of an unhurried renewal in domestic and international tourism.

Velasco-Allones: TPB succeeded in reinventing its tourism promotion mandate by exploring support activities that indirectly contribute to tourism promotion

With the Omicron surge expected to peak by the end of January and the successful vaccination and booster exercises in the Philippines, Velasco-Allones expects the increase in domestic travel in the last quarter of 2021 to continue into the new year.

She revealed that the country’s Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging and Infectious Diseases has approved the entry of foreign nationals into the Philippines by February 16, 2022, subject to certain requirements.

Regarding the repair of the destruction of Super Typhoon Rai, which hit high-profile destinations such as Cebu, Bohol, Palawan and Siargao, Velasco-Allones said that “ongoing efforts to rebuild or rehabilitate key infrastructure and supporting recovery initiatives in these places will surely pave the way for these destinations to be ready to welcome visitors again.”

Meanwhile, TPB continues to promote domestic tourism in key destinations as well as various destinations such as the Cordillera region for mountain tourism, Baguio city for cultural and gastronomic trips, Boracay for sand and beach, and newly calibrated interior tourist circuits and routes.

Changes in the tourism landscape have required TPB to adapt its roles to ensure that its marketing programs and strategies remain relevant, effective and efficient.

TPB is strengthening its role as a service facilitator for tourism stakeholders. For example, TPB’s membership program grew by 488%, resulting in a more engaged community that can respond quickly, as seen in the post-Rai relief campaign, and collaborate on formulating the TPB’s strategic marketing program and other matters.

Other initiatives include leveraging technology and digital platforms to support digital marketing and promotions, and deploying a special contingency fund to support initiatives such as providing hygiene kits and subsidizing swab testing costs to boost domestic tourism.

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