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Philippines seeks to mitigate coronavirus impact

Philippines minister of tourism, Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, has unveiled a series of measures to combat falling revenues in the sector in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Authorities have banned non-Filipino travellers arriving from China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus.

The decision is expected to cost the country around $850 million Romulo-Puyat explained.

In response, the Philippines will invest $9 million in a new domestic travel campaign designed to boost tourism demand.

There will also be $1.7 million for industry staff training to prepare for the virus.

Romulo-Puyat added that, while foreign arrivals grew by nearly ten per cent in January, the figure collapsed 42 per cent to 418,128 in February.

Hotel occupancy rates in Boracay and Bohol plunged by 40 per cent, and other prime destinations such as Cebu and Manila are also suffering from reduced occupancy.

In a further attempt to slow the spread, the department of tourism has cancelled a shopping festival which was scheduled to take place from until March 31st.

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