PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte will visit local tourist destinations including the world renowned Boracay beach in the coming weeks to encourage local travel amid a coronavirus outbreak, the presidential palace said on Monday.

“He’s a magnet,” presidential spokesman Salvador S. Panelo said at a briefing. “His presence attracts people,” he added, citing the need for Filipinos to support the local tourism industry.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Fatima T. Romulo-Puyat has said the industry could lose P42.9 billion from February to April — P16.8 billion this month, P14.11 billion in March and P11.98 billion in April because of trip cancellations overseas.

Roberto Lim, executive director and vice-chairman of the Air Carriers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (ACAP) said last week they expect to lose about P3 billion from ticket refunds in the next two months after the Philippine travel ban on China and its administrative regions.

China is the Philippines’ top 2 foreign tourist market, with more than 1.7 million arrivals last year.

Tourism Undersecretary Arturo Boncato told a separate briefing the agency was still finalizing the tourist stops that Mr. Duterte would visit.

The Tourism department was lining up destinations including Boracay island, Cebu and Bohol, he said. Mr. Duterte wanted to visit as many places as possible, he added. — Gillian M. Cortez