As critical component in the reopening of tourism, tourism transport operators and tourism-related MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) should rise strengthened and enabled from the wrath of the Covid-19 pandemic that halted their livelihood.
Gov. Art Yap emphasized this as he again takes up the cudgels in behalf of the tourism transport operators and tourism-related MSMEs in accommodations, travel, tours, crafts, culinary and agri-tourism to be aided in their plight amid the economic slump brought about by the pandemic.
In their behalf, the governor sent letters to Department of Tourism (DOT) Sec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and Department of Transportation (DOTr) Sec. Arthur Tugade, proposing that part of the Bayanihan 2 Funds be allocated to buy out the existing loans qualified tourism transport operators and these tourism-related MSMEs.
The governor also pointed out that many of the loans of the tourism transport sector were contracted pre-Covid, and were taken in response to the modernization drive and regulatory dictates of the DOTr.
Moreover, the governor takes the advantage gained from Bohol’s hosting of the Philippine Travel Exchange (Phitex) 2020 as an avenue to gradually reopen the tourism economy to bail out the displaced workers in the tourism industry from further sufferings.
Yap said that in his letters to Romulo-Puyat and Tugade on September 24, he requests that accredited transport operators and tourism MSMEs be given “the chance for a breathing spell from the high-priced commercial loans they have contracted for at least 24 months; and let the Bayanihan 2 Funds buy-out the commercial loans and change them to “0” interest with minimal administration fees of 1 percent during these two years.
“We learned a lot this week from our participants and the opportunity to showcase the latest in innovation, health protocol, and how they will interphase with travel and tourism in the coming days, has given as confidence to seriously consider reopening tourism in Bohol very soon,” Yap stated in his letter to Romulo-Puyat.
The governor pointed out that “one critical component in the reopening of tourism is making sure that qualified tourism transport operators and tourism-related MSMEs in accommodations, travel, tours, crafts, culinary and agri-tourism will be around to serve our visitors”.
“Unfortunately, unless we move quickly to assist these MSMEs and transport groups, they may not be around in the near future as commercial banks have aggressively and systematically started to foreclose on many of their loans, specifically tourism transport vehicle loans,” according to Yap.
On this, the governor has been working on a system of using provincial government funds to buy out high-priced commercial loans and giving these operators a two-year breathing spell from having to make payments. (AV)