PHL restaurants place their hopes of recovery on a “meal of revenge”

Workers are busy cleaning up ahead of the restaurant’s reopening in Marikina City. – PHILIPPINE STAR / MICHAEL VARCAS

The RESTAURANT industry expects some recovery next year along the lines of the resurgence seen in major global cities like New York and Hong Kong that have reopened their economies, the Philippine restaurant manager said (Resto PH).

“There is hope for us when you look at the restaurant industry in the Philippines. There should be a resurgence, what we call a ‘meal of revenge’… it could happen next year, ”Resto PH president Eric Teng said at a Chamber of Commerce and Industry forum. Philippine industry on Friday.

Restaurant industries in some major cities are already growing above 100% of pre-pandemic levels, he said, adding that restaurants in key cities in China are also experiencing a resurgence.

Since the closures declared to contain the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) began last year, restaurants have experienced significantly lower demand due to limited consumer mobility and ongoing restrictions on restaurant capacity. .

Mr Teng said the improvement in immunization levels is encouraging, hoping the rates would be sufficient to allay public health fears ahead of the holidays.

He said there was a dearth of help in the form of back-up plans or overt eviction moratoria for businesses affected by the foreclosure restrictions.

“The tax breaks, tax exemptions and other remedies that the local national government can offer can allow us to reinvest in our own businesses or in our industries, he said. “It’s a shame if we can’t revitalize the restaurant industry. “

Restaurants operating in areas below Alert Level 4 such as Metro Manila are permitted to arrange up to 10% indoor catering for fully vaccinated customers. Outdoor meals can operate up to 30% of their capacity.

About 6.2 million people, or 63% of the eligible population in the capital region, have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Benjamin de Castro Abalos, Jr said on Friday. .

The national rate is below 17%, the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracker showed. The Philippines aims to vaccinate 70% of its population by the end of 2021.

Meanwhile, the tourism sector will need to generate at least 50% of its 3.14 trillion peso revenue from domestic travel in 2019 to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, an industry group said.

“Our goal now is that at least half of this trillion PPP is more than enough for the recovery of tourism in the Philippines,” Cesar R. Cruz, president of the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), said at the Thursday’s hybrid press conference for the Philippines. Travel Exchange 2021 was held virtually and physically in the Subic Bay free port area.

Mr Cruz said that PHILTOA, which also includes members from the hospitality, transport and other related sectors, is “very optimistic” that the industry can get back on its feet by the end of 2022. given the eagerness of the local market to leave their homes. after more than a year of confinement.

Their promotional strategy now, he said, is initially focused on land travel, as domestic air travel faces more restrictions and documentary requirements.

For international visitors, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said they are closely monitoring Thailand’s “Phuket model or sandbox model”, which has reopened to fully vaccinated foreign guests without requirements. quarantine.

Ms. Puyat stressed that a key factor in reopening the borders is the full vaccination of the entire tourist workforce.

She cited that the popular tourist destination Boracay already has a 73% vaccination rate. Other island destinations such as Cebu, Bohol, Palawan and Siargao are also given priority.

“Hopefully we can vaccinate everyone (in tourist establishments) at least before the end of the year, then we can accept foreign tourists who are vaccinated and hopefully without quarantine days,” Ms. Puyat.

Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones, COO of the Tourism Promotions Board which organized the Philippine Travel Exchange, said there was a lot of interest in the event’s business-to-business meetings for the resumption of travel among the major the country’s foreign markets such as South Korea, China and Japan as well as Spain.

The tourism sector grew steadily from 2017 to 2019, contributing 11.7% to 12.7% to the country’s economy, according to data from the Statistics Authority of the Philippines.

Spending by foreign tourists in 2019, including that of non-resident Filipinos, reached 548.76 billion pesos.

In 2020, the direct gross value added of tourism fell to 973.31 billion pesos and the sector’s contribution to the economy fell to 5.4%. Domestic tourism spending fell 82.3%, while inbound visitor receipts fell 78%.

In terms of employment, the industry had around 5.71 million workers in 2019, which fell to 4.68 million in 2020. – Jenina P. Ibañez and Marifi S. Jara

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