Start of Pandemic
On January 30, 2020, the very first case of the Corona Virus was reported in the Philippines. It involved a 38-year old Chinese National who was hospitalized in the San Lazaro Hospital in Sta. Cruz, Manila. Just a few days after the recorded first case, the country reported the very first death outside mainland China. He was a 44-year old Chinese man. On March 5, a 62-year old man who did not have a travel history was confirmed positive of the disease and that’s when the community transmission began.
While the cases in Metro Manila were rising, Cebu still remained COVID free and tourism was still on going. Only until the 13th of March when the very first case was announced, that things changed. Preventive measures were made by the government and that included the “Stay-at-Home” order. Although lockdown was still not in the plan, strict regulations have been implemented in the borders to prevent the virus from spreading.
Status of Tourism
The start of the pandemic also marked the suspension of tourism activities in Cebu City and in the whole island. Tourist destinations, resorts, and beaches closed. People were encouraged to go back to their hometowns. Because all the countries in the world ordered lockdowns, foreigners were required to go back to their countries. This made tourism be paralyzed.
While tourism is at freeze, the tourism sector suffered a lot. This doesn’t only include travel agencies and travel destinations but also affected hotels, and car rental companies. With the pandemic going on, there is no guarantee yet as to when tourism will be back.
What is the Tourism Sector Doing During the Pandemic?
Though this pandemic has impacted so many companies and caused the closure of some, other companies made this as an opportunity to improve and divert to other better opportunities. In Oslob for example, the local government allotted a budget for the continuous feeding of the whale sharks so that the gentle giants will not depart from the place. So when the pandemic is over, the whale shark watching activity will automatically go back to normal operation. Some car rental companies are catering shuttle services for companies that started to open. Some tourist destination companies also took advantage of this time to do some renovation and improvement. Hotels, on the other hand, partnered with companies like BPO to provide temporary accommodation for their employees.