Hospitality industry businesses mull shutdowns, retrenchments

HRRAC prexy: Without a vaccine, it is difficult to foresee recovery of travel-leisure industry

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | June 08,2020 - 06:49 PM
The tourism and accommodation industry may take a while before it can recover from the pandemic especially without a vaccine yet for the virus, say industry experts. They say that temporary shutdowns of hospitality industry businesses can also cause massive retrenchment of employees. | CDN file photo

The tourism and accommodation industry may take a while before it can recover from the pandemic especially without a vaccine yet for the virus, say industry experts. They say that temporary shutdowns of hospitality industry businesses can also cause massive retrenchment of employees. | CDN file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Despite plans to further ease restrictions to allow more businesses to open, about 75 percent of hospitality industry workers in Cebu are still facing the grim prospect of permanently losing their jobs in the coming months.

This as about 80 percent of the accommodation establishments here may continue to temporarily shut down operations because they view the leisure travel industry as one that may not get back on its feet yet soon.

Carlo Anton Suarez, president of the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC), Inc., told the Cebu Provincial Board this Monday, June 8, 2020, that it would still be difficult to foresee the industry getting back on its feet soon without a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the picture yet.

Suarez, along with the leaders of the Cebu and Mandaue chambers of commerce, were asked to attend the session to talk about the blows that the businesses experienced from the effects of COVID-19.

For the past months under community quarantine, some hotels have continued to operate as they catered to repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), billeted frontliners, and workers of exempted establishments, and locally stranded individuals.

Read more: Plans for reopening of tourism industry outlined

But with still no traveler or business clients, which comprised the majority of their market, Suarez said their industry had continued to bleed and temporarily shutting down operations might be the only way to stop the “bleeding.”

“We need to stop the bleeding first. We need to survive,” Suarez said.

However, this shutting down of operation, Suarez said, might also entail massive retrenchment of their workers. The business leader said the hospitality industry was employing at least 10,000 individuals.

Read more: Bello sees 5-M job losses in COVID-19 pandemic

“Tinuoray ani, kung wala tay vaccine, lisod gyud kaayo i-travel-travel. Ang ato lang is unsaon man namo para mabuhi. Mabuhi is to stop the bleeding first. Mo temporarily shut down una ta,” Suarez told CDN Digital in a separate interview.

(The truth of the matter is if there is no vaccine, then it will be difficult for one to travel. What will do now is just to survive. For us to survive is to stop the bleeding first. We will temporarily shut down for now.)

Read more: Tourism industry pegs P25B loss due to COVID-19

According to Suarez, the travel and hospitality industry said they were expecting the business to “slowly” reopen in the ber-months yet. However, they are no longer expecting to be able to fully recover their losses within this year.

Suarez also told the PB that it might take up to two years before the industry could fully recover and go back to its economic state before the pandemic./dbs

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TAGS: Cebu Tourism, COVID, economu, tourism

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