(File photo courtesy of Roy Mark Maarat)

El Nido business owners lamented the P1.4 million initial tourism industry loss due to the 2019-novel coronavirus (nCoV) scare after two persons under investigation (PUI) were reported to have visited their globally-renowned municipality.

Alvin Acosta, municipal tourism officer, on Friday morning said that El Nido town had a total of 167 cancellations on January 2020, based on its initial report.

“Based on the trend we have, we are anticipating heavier impact as the issue [on nCoV] develops,” he said.


Photo courtesy of Roy Mark Maarat

The initial computation was only based on 40 out of 285 establishments, yielding an average of 60 percent individual enterprise revenue loss, Acosta clarified.

A certain business owner who sought anonymity said she has personally experienced a decline in sales, yielding to some 10 percent less compared to that of last year’s.

“The end of the year was already less than before, many have felt that. Then January beginning wasn’t so bad until the mid-January; there was quite a drop and it only became strong for a week, when usually Chinese New Year feels much stronger,” she said.


Photo courtesy of Roy Mark Maarat

Local and foreign tourists were given the option to either partially refund or rebook their trip on a later date, according to some business owners.

The El Nido municipal tourism office has yet to plan how to recover from its loss as they await on the global and local developments on the looming threats posed by nCoV.

International flights going to and from Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China were canceled from February 5 to March 29 at the Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPIA).

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Health (DOH) warned and discouraged the public in going to crowded places as it bid to manage the spread of the deadly virus.

The El Nido town welcomed some 494 thousand tourists in 2019.


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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.