Advocate for overseas worker and City Council candidate Barry Sumpio is supporting the local tourist industry’s request for a tourism bubble dry run, claiming that it would assist displaced employees recover lost revenue.
Local industry leaders in early November called on the city government to hold the dry run in December, the month initially set for the reopening industry to Palawan-based tourists. Leaders said that relying on local tourists alone is not enough for the industry to recover from almost two years of no tourism activity due to the ongoing pandemic.
In an interview on Friday, Sumpio said the local administration should consider the tourism sector’s concerns, particularly because over 15,000 workers are impacted by business closures and lost earnings.
“It will impact the lives of our people in Puerto Princesa more particularly to regain their livelihood during this difficult time of pandemic,” Sumpio said.
“I support the private sector’s call for the tourism bubble dry run because it will provide hope to our constituents who depend on this industry to earn a living and eventually ignite once more our local economy,” he added.
Industry leaders who pushed for the tourism bubble dry run stated that it would be relatively safer to accept tourists from Metro Manila because more of its residents have already been fully vaccinated. They also cited the readiness of the city to deal with COVID-19 cases since there is already a city molecular laboratory and high vaccination rate among economic frontliners.
They also stated that depending solely on Palawan-based tourists is not sustainable and that many restaurants, travel operators, and hotels have started closing operations because of financial difficulties. They stated that some in the tourism transport industry have had their vehicles repossessed because they have no more passengers.
Sumpio, who used to work as a human resources practitioner in Oman, added that should he win a seat at the city council on May 2022, he will push for more foreign investors, particularly from Arab countries, to invest in Puerto Princesa’s tourism industry.
“As a former OFW and been the president of the Filipino community abroad, we were able to establish a good network of friends who can be potential investors in our City. I plan to bolster the tourism industry and to open partnerships with key players abroad in increasing tourist visitors and programs,” he said.