At least 200,000 individuals in Bohol either lost their jobs or had their livelihood affected by the pandemic in 2020 and the figure is expected to surge further this year, said Governor Art yap.
Yap, during the Capitol’s weekly press briefing on Friday last week, attributed the massive job loss and diminished livelihood to the country’s slumping tourism industry.
“Sa atong estimates, last year, we had a meeting with NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) and gi-extrapolate nato ang mga figures considering that 78 percent sa ekonomiya tourism and services-based, the estimate was at least 200,000 jobs ang naigo—these are people na natangtang sa trabaho, naapektuhan ang ilang trabaho ug panginabuhian,” Yap said.
According to Yap, a new study is being conducted and it is projected that the number of affected jobs could rise further to 300,000 in 2021.
The governor added that the province was seen to have lost “P15 billion to P18 billion” in annual tourism revenues due to COVID-19 in 2020 based on comparisons with previous data from the Department of Tourism (DOT).
“This is means that this is the amount of revenues that are made from tourism and services so hotels, restaurants, tours, merchandising, retailing, attending shows coming for events, food, transport sector…So in terms of those damages, we are looking at that amount,” Yap said.
Yap admitted that Bohol failed to reinvigorate its tourism industry with the repeated closure of the province’s borders as part of efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Bohol had opened its doors to tourists starting November last year but the high number of COVID-19 cases prompted the province to maintain its strict entry protocol.
“Atong nakit-an sa Bohol na ang close-open, close-open type of a system specially sa atong turismo, it does not work tungod kay tan-awa ang nahitabo last year gi ablihan na nato ang Bohol sa Phitex, we went through Christmas with Bohol open, we opened up also during the Holy Week apan hantod karon still there is no improvement,” Yap said.
The governor noted that Bohol needs to sustain its opened borders to drive tourists to visit the province.
“We have to stay open for a long period of time or at least six months so that we can stabilize our operations,” Yap said.
The governor added that vaccination of more people and observance of basic health protocols would also be crucial in reviving the tourism industry by lowering the number of COVID-19 cases in the province.
As of Wednesday, Bohol has a total of 777 active COVID-19 cases.
The figure has been steadily decreasing after the province constantly tallied over a thousand cases in September.