Towards tourism recovery: Staying afloat amid Covid-19

MANILA – Adapting and innovating would be the only way the hard-hit tourism industry could survive under the current landscape brought by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

This was the collective input of acclaimed motivational speakers and business experts Josiah Go and Francis Kong during the Leadership Excellence Series (LES) 2020 organized by the Department of Tourism – National Capital Region (DOT-NCR) office on Thursday.

Once activities are allowed, firms should be ready to create “compelling offers” to attract clients, said Go, chairman and chief innovation strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc.

He said they must have a “relaunch mindset” when creating offers, such as introducing new tour attractions timed with mega sale events in airfares, hotels, malls, and restaurants.

In the meantime, Go said, companies should find creative ways to lure other markets, like what Japanese rental firm Kasoku Apartments did in promoting its space to people who want to avoid the so-called “coronavirus divorce” or to simply take a breather away from home.

He also cited as an example the budget Fab Hotels in India, which turned its rooms into alternative work areas, targeting employers instead of tourists.

Noting that the pandemic too shall pass, Go said closure is not the best option.

Instead, he advised industry leaders to look for partners who would be able to sustain and revive their businesses while the crisis continues to affect economies.

“If you close the business, you have no value. If you sell the business, you have value. But if you revive the business, it has even greater value. If you want to turn around, you can but you might have to find new partners. Don’t close,” Go said.

Kong, president of Success Options, Inc. and director of Inspire Leadership Consultancy, likewise noted that companies should move towards digital marketing as the world enters the so-called contactless economy, which became more evident with the ongoing health crisis.

“When Covid-19 broke, you have to understand that whatever it is that we were doing until now, these are not innovation. Innovation will come later. We are merely adapting and adapting is not yet done. We are still doing that,” he said.

Meanwhile, DOT-NCR Director Woodrow Maquiling agreed that the crisis is merely temporary and that “Covid-19 is not a dead-end but a detour.”

“These challenging times in tourism require us nothing short to be imaginative, bold, and brave in pursuing the next direction for our country’s tourism,” Maquiling said.

Time and time again, he said, Philippine tourism has consistently proven its resilience and its ability not only to bounce back as a sector but to lead the country’s economic and social recovery.

“Our recovery work may seem an uphill battle. However, we should start somewhere if we ought to go somewhere,” Maquiling added. (PNA)

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora, PNA