TOP PHOTO: PTAA President Michelle Taylan
The Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) and other travel groups are seeking for more assistance from the Department of Tourism (DOT).
In a letter to the DOT, the PTAA noted “ongoing financial challenges and impact to business” from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are one with the department’s endeavor towards recovery and to support businesses severely hit by the continuing coronavirus disease,” PTAA President Michelle Taylan wrote in the letter addressed to Tourism Sec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
The travel association is requesting further assistance from state insurers like the Social Security System, PhilHealth and PAGIBIG in maximizing availment of benefits for PTAA members and other stakeholders in the travel industry who may currently be suffering from financial constraints due to either limited or shuttered business.
The group also seeks discounted lifeline packages for other recurring monthly bills that need to be settled while on operation. This includes utilities and telecommunication payment dues.
“You can just imagine the financial burden of having to pay off these otherwise usual items, without actual income,” Taylan said. “We are hoping to give tourism industry workers a bit of relief kahit sa simpleng mga bayarin kada buwan.”
The PTAA launched its “Bills Support Care” campaign, taking inspiration from the various community pantries being set up in different parts of the country.
The association expects momentum for the tourism industry to take off following the vaccination of the A4 priority group which includes tourism workers.
“We see some silver lining as vaccination of economic frontliners begin. It would just be a matter of time until we see tourism boom again. But until such time, we hope to provide whatever help we can to ailing businesses,” Taylan said.
Leisure travel to and from the NCR Plus to areas under more relaxed restrictions or those in modified general community quarantine has been allowed, but limited to point-to-point travel.
Travelers aged below 18 years old and those older than 65 must present a negative RT-PCR test result. Swab test requirements of those in-between age groups will depend on their destination’s local government unit protocol.
Aside from the PTAA and TCP, other travel associations like the PATA, NAITAS, QCTAA, PATS, ALTTA, ATTAP, ATTA, BAPTTA, BATFOI, BITATOA, BSTA, BOSZTAA, CTTA, DTAA, ITATOA, NEATOP, PTOTAA, QuePATTA, TATToO, R1TTA, and the RTAA join the call to seek assistance for travel and tourism workers gravely affected this pandemic.