Last week, I had the privilege to be at the quarterly meeting of my hometown’s tourism council.
It was heartbreaking to hear and see the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in the tour operators, travel agencies, attraction sites, transport services, hotels, restaurants and leisure/wellness providers of our towns.
Many lost their businesses, their jobs and their main source of living.
Nueva Vizcaya Paragliding by the International Flying Education Center was adversely affected as well. We lost all our tandem flights and student bookings, which we worked hard to accumulate during the past year.
Our 2020 summer calendar was full of passengers and pilots coming into the valley, but with the global lockdown, we lost everything.
For a year, since I returned to my hometown, I have followed the activities of the Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Tourism Council. I was genuinely impressed by their initiatives, headed by the chairperson and former Governor, Ruth R. Padilla.
From reviving our museum to art-attacking our bridges, from supporting farmers to building cultural centers, from serene falls to colorful festivals, from quiet eco-parks to breathtaking paragliding – the little town I grew up in is not so quiet anymore… but in a good way!
The domino effect of the virus has brought everything to a halt. During this time of crisis, we look up to our leaders for support.
Whether we feel it or not, they are working behind the scenes in creating management plans to sustain the big and small businesses amidst this pandemic.
The road to recovery is long and painful. Our leaders are there to guide and motivate us, but the ultimate steps will have to be done by the individual.
The best tourism risk management and recovery plans are those made and refined by your local leaders. Each region has their own distinct people, places and products.
If you are a business owner struggling to survive Covid-19, I suggest you contact your LGU or tourism council for help. There are people willing to help if you ask.
At this time of social distancing, I have learned to cling more to God and in child-like faith seek wisdom to think out of the box. He alone can troubleshoot what I cannot control.
I am excited to see how he turns this shutdown into an innovative restart for all of us.
Today, the tourism industry may be down, but it is NOT out. It’s not dead, it’s only on vacation. We were forced to shutdown but we will restart with fresh passion!