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Editorial | After the quarantine

Like all disasters in human history, this coronavirus pandemic too, shall pass.

With the easing of the community quarantine in the region, businesses are cautiously exploring ways to reopen, bearing in mind health protocols imposed by the government. Some may not bounce back as fast as the business climate would allow, but there is hope that some industries could be luckier than most.

The tourism industry received a severe beating the past three months as both sea and land transportation, hotels, and all social events ground to a halt due to the lockdown. The ensuing economic blow forced most of them to temporarily close. Something, however, has to give.

Mayor Al David Uy of the Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCoS), a major tourism destination in the region, estimates their loss of revenue from tourism at 60 to 70 percent from April to May, as a result of the pandemic. He said almost 90 percent of the 130 resorts in the island stopped operations. This is bad for a city that depends on tourism as a high growth industry.

As we all wait for scientists to develop a vaccine, the economy has to move forward. Now is the best time to assess, adapt and plan creatively how to get into the momentum once a window of opportunity presents itself.

John Roberts, group director of sustainability for Minor Hotels, said in a webinar (see the column, Wanderlust) that ” we should be coming back quicker than mass tourism. Like, camping is a good idea since you’re practically bringing your own room. As long as you follow carrying capacity guidelines and you’re not harming the environment.”

Identifying the tourism hotspots, ensuring health screenings and proper health protocols especially limiting the capacity at 50 percent, could slowly bring the tourism sector back on its feet. It’s not going to be easy, but we are, at least, going there.

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