Innovating, thriving during pandemic

Innovating, thriving during pandemic

MANILA – There’s a type of crisis where once resolved, eventually goes away and the business returns to normal. But how do you handle one when the crisis is the pandemic itself?

For Amor Maclang, an internationally recognized crisis management and disaster risk reduction expert, the way forward is to innovate.

In the recent Leadership Excellence Series 2021 (“LES”): A 360° Virtual Learning Experience hosted by the Department of Tourism-Metro Manila, Maclang said the coronavirus crisis has already become a “paradigm changer”.

Compared to a crisis where one can recover easily, she likened the pandemic’s impact to having a leg amputated where one “totally have to adjust to your new lifestyle and circumstances”.

In the context of the tourism industry, she said established business models are already dying out as new ones spring right back up.

“I know what we all want for the tourism industry and that is for the economy to reopen, but what if the economy was actually already opened and it just so happen that it is not the same economy that we were used to,” she said.

“Maybe when people talk about the economy, when they talk about circumstances changing, what they’re hoping is for the old economy to come back and I’m not saying it won’t. But there’s a really good chance that that’s not going to happen,” she added.

Maclang said businesses must toss out the playbook and grab the opportunity to be experimental.

“It’s better to apologize for mistakes by trying new things rather than closing your company just because your established ways of getting customers don’t work anymore,” she said.

She added that merging crisis management, marketing, and good governance is what businesses need to keep in mind to thrive in any type of storm.

For the tourism sector, she advised stakeholders to find ways to “exceed best practices” in sustainability because this is the time for the country to stand out as a place that values not only the visitors but also the health of the planet.

“Low-carbon tourism for example is all about minimizing the impact of our actions on the planet… Social distancing should have also been done a long time ago because the carrying capacity of most of our islands cannot really tolerate mass tourism,” she said.

“I’ll tell you, address this next crisis before it hits so we can prosper in hard times and not forever play the victim,” she added.

Cathy Yap-Yang, a multi-awarded business journalist and First Vice President and Group Head of PLDT and Smart Corporate Communications, meanwhile, zeroed in on customer satisfaction.

At PLDT, she shared that they thrive to become “more digital” to keep up with their customers’ needs during the pandemic. During the crisis, she highlighted the importance of providing reliable services while considering the health and safety of both your employees and clients.

For DOT-Metro Manila Regional Director Woodrow Maquiling, the trailblazing hybrid online learning event could not be more timely as the country face a period that needs rebuilding of consumer confidence.

“Our country’s tourism chief said it best, ‘the tourism industry can rise again,’ given the massive rollout of the national vaccination drive by the government and the continuing strict implementation of health and safety protocols,” he said.

The LES was held last June 11 at the Joy Nostalg Hotel & Suites Manila. (PNA)

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora  June 17, 2021,