It’s summertime and the skies are clear but the beaches and other tourist spots remain empty. Disappointed that you’ve had to cancel your flights and hotel bookings? We get it. But the effects of your cancelled trips are more far-reaching than the lack of #YOLO posts on your Instagram.
All those cancelled trips collectively have an impact on the tourism industry, which is especially vulnerable to the pandemic. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) says that 80% of the tourism sector is made up of small- and medium-sized businesses — which means this crisis has left millions struggling with the temporary loss of their livelihood.
But there is something you can do to help. In a statement, Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general of the UNWTO, stressed that everybody must be part of the solution, reminding those who are going on essential travel to follow safety measures. He also encouraged everyone else to stay home and be patient.
“Tourism is uniquely placed to lead future recovery. Our sector will provide the jobs people need to bounce back and will drive economic growth that will help whole communities and countries to recover. But for now, we must be patient and stand ready,” he said. “By staying home today, we can travel tomorrow. And traveling tomorrow will support jobs, celebrate culture and promote international friendship and understanding.”
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Once the crisis is over, there are simple things you can do to show your support for the tourism industry and help the economy recover:
Spend your vacation in the country. With thousands of islands, the Philippines has plenty of places waiting to be explored and many communities that rely on tourism for their livelihood. Aside from booking flights and hotel rooms, you can also hire a local guide and shop for locally made souvenirs.
Eat at local restaurants. Dine in homegrown restaurants, whether you’re on vacation or in your neighborhood. This can help business owners and their workers get back on their feet.
Go on a staycation. If you’ve used up all your leave credits during lockdown, book a weekend stay at a hotel.
In the meantime, reminisce on your past adventures by posting your favorite travel photo on Instagram. Tag us at @smilemag and use the hashtag #traveltomorrow. Stay home, stay strong and we’ll all #traveltomorrow.