Tourism on the back foot.
PICS courtesy: Inquirer.net and Philstar
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Every incident of violence immediately raises speculation about the reactions on various connected fields. But, the most vocal of all are the detractors of the President, his style of functioning, and the opposition. These are the people who are happy to utilize such chances to malign the nation as a whole.
However, it is the people connected to tourism who should be bothered. Their work suffers as does the reputation of their country as a safe destination. The occurrence of the Resorts World incident even while the siege at Marawi continues is likely to prove damaging.
But, analysts say that it may not be so.
The Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III stated that this action of a maverick may not impact those who are investing in the Philippines. But, the tourism sector might take a hit at least for a temporary period.
However, given the quality of tourist attractions and the large rush, it may not dent the revenue severely. Moreover, the trouble spots and the tourist attractions are topographically quite distant from each other.
But, the martial law, the siege of Marawi will particularly have an impact for some time. It is unfortunate that an unconnected incident by a lone gunman highlighted and magnified the terrorist threat.
Madeline Jante, President of The Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) decried the adverse impact that these two incidents may have. In a statement, The Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) agreed that some adverse impact is likely.
Jante added that this country had emerged from all the adversities and disadvantages; tourism will remain as strong as ever. Over the years, tourism industry has emerged as the sunshine industry with some of the best beaches in the world.
“This is not the time to panic,” Jante said. “Our tourism industry’s foundation is now strong enough for it to continue to grow and remain as one of our country’s sunshine industries despite these incidents.
Dissemination of timely, accurate information
The PTAA chief stressed that officials need to disseminate news in a timely fashion since it gives rise to rumors and creates panic. This leaves no room for rumors.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez stated that we should take lessons particularly in securing public places like hotels. The incidents in Paris and Manchester are just a few examples of overlooking of security, he said.
Failure of the management
The Makati Business Club (MBC) decried the need for better disaster management techniques. Peter Perfecto, MBC Executive Director stressed on the need for better management of facilities and visitors. This was imperative since tourism is one of the main drivers of the Filipino economy.
Accurate information is the immediate casualty, he said.
Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president George Barcelon agreed that the owners of the casino had compromised on security. However, he also agreed with the assessment of the government’s position that it was an isolated incident.
It is bad business sense to leave your customers vulnerable to attack.
Business as usual
The quality of cities and businesses is that they bounce back quite fast and resume normal operations without losing time. Business establishments took stock and got back to their businesses promptly.
John Forbes, Senior adviser of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines called it an isolated incident while emphasizing the need for security guards.
Moreover, European investors did not comment since the authorities delayed the information.
Not a terrorist
There were a lot of rumors and confusion among the public due to lack of precise information.
However, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., was actively monitoring the whole situation to ensure smooth salvage operations. They also coordinated to ensure the safety of guests and employees.
They announced that a deranged man was the perpetrator of the massacre. He wanted to commit a robbery and set the casino on fire to distract the management. The attacker with the looks of a foreigner was not a terrorist the agency said in a statement.
The big casino operators took a hit at the Philippine Stock Exchange as their stocks tumbled. Most of the listed companies dropped 5% to 7% of the value of their shares.
The closure of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport for nearly two hours in the early hours led to disruptions in flight services. Authorities had ordered closure of the airport since it was not clear whether it was a terror attack or otherwise.
Philippine Airlines stated that Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Villamor, Pasay City faces Resorts World. Hence, authorities ordered the predawn airport closure as a precautionary measure.
In addition, Cebu Pacific Air also suffered cancellations and flight delays. It provided the passengers with the following options due to cancellations / delays:
1. Get a full refund,
2. Keep the value of the money for use at a later date, and
3. Rebook your tickets without any penalty.
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Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson
Saturday, 03 June 2017