[B-SIDE Podcast] No vaccine, will travel?

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The tourism and hospitality industry is focusing on the domestic market since pandemic-related restrictions have hamstrung international travel. While the Philippines waits for vaccines, hotel operators–and other stakeholders–are finding ways to assure people that it’s safe to venture out. “We’re still hopeful that we can rely on local travel but it will take time. We need to get people back on their feet,” Cinty R. Yniguez, director of sales and marketing at Seda Vertis North, tells former BusinessWorld senior reporter Zsarlene B. Chua. “A lot of destinations have been successful at reeling in travelers and [helping them] surpass their anxiety and paranoia.”

TAKEAWAYS

With health as their priority, businesses are reimagining their product offerings.

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The buffet at Misto, Seda Vertis North’s all-day dining restaurant, reopened in December 2020 albeit with changes to the experience. The revamped “new normal” Misto buffet allows its diners to go to the buffet stations and see the spread–behind plexiglass. The restaurant’s culinary team then gets the food for them.

“You can enjoy and indulge in a spread of dishes without having so many people touch the dishes,” said Ms. Yniguez. “We have a feast for the eyes and for the senses by actually seeing the buffet spread but we have the safety by having the culinary team actually serve the dishes to you.”

It’s better for businesses to think of ways to move forward, with or without the vaccine.

The imminent arrival of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines in the Philippines has everyone excited but Ms. Yniguez prefers to be pragmatic. “To see is to believe,” she said of the local inoculation drive. “In the meantime, … we need to keep moving forward and take this time to hone our skills and train up, to diversify and improve our product and service offerings. So that when the recovery happens, we are more than well prepared.”

Multitasking is the name of the game.

“You need to be able to do other jobs so that you’ll survive, so that you can contribute significantly to the success of whatever establishment you’re in,” said Ms. Yniguez, but at the same time, she emphasized maintaining healthy boundaries between work and home.

This B-Side episode was recorded remotely on Feb. 2, 2021. Produced by Nina M. Diaz, Paolo L. Lopez, and Sam L. Marcelo.

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