THE Philippine tourism industry could expect some recovery by the first quarter of 2021, the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) said.

Some domestic travel has restarted after lockdown restrictions were eased. Boracay Island is open for domestic tourists, while Region 1 provinces have allowed tourism within their travel bubble.

“With the slow opening of the tourism corridors that are happening now, and up to the holidays because the yuletide season is coming and people are looking forward to travel, so maybe next year on the first quarter… we will see that slowly people will travel,” PTAA Vice President for Inbound Travel Angel Lao said in an interview with ANC on Monday.

Ms. Lao said that the association expects some more travel through the Holy Week, Valentines Day, and the summer time next year.

She said that while businesses are slowly recovering operations, their work is not “business-as-usual,” adding that companies are having conversations about developing flight sightseeing programs, staycations, and nature tours.

Domestic tourism expenditure grew by 10.4% to P3.14 trillion in 2019 from P2.85 trillion a year earlier, government data showed. Inbound or non-resident tourism expenditure was P545.76 billion in 2019.

Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) President Jose C. Clemente III said businesses did not have a definite projection on when recovery will happen.

“At this point, we can just be hopeful the recovery comes sooner than later,” he said in a mobile message.

But he said that factors that could lead to recovery is the public reassurance that safety guidelines are followed, as well as reasonable costs and ease of travel.

“If we can get a healthy balance of those factors, then we can really think of tourism recovery,” he said. — Jenina P. Ibañez