Philippines DOT throws a lifeline to tourism firms

MANILA, 30 October 2020: Small travel enterprises should apply for loans under the Philippines ‘CARES for Travel’ programme says the Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

She is urging micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to enrol for the CARES for Tourism Rehabilitation and Vitalization of Enterprises and Livelihood (CARES for TRAVEL) Programme to grab the financial lifeline. The support scheme will help small travel firms to sustain their businesses and keep workers on the payroll as the Covid-19 pandemic passes the 10-month timeline without a solution in sight.

Earlier the Small Business Corporation (SB Corp), announced the opening of loan applications under its CARES for TRAVEL programme during a DOT-hosted webinar on 27 October that explained how to access a zero interest working capital loan.

“The CARES for TRAVEL programme primarily seeks to assist tourism MSMEs. The support we give them now will come a long way in ensuring their survival in the coming days as we embark on slowly resuming tourism. The DOT is thrilled to share the news that enterprises may submit their loan applications online, while we are awaiting the download of funds to SB Corp,” Secretary Puyat explained.

Through the DOT and SB Corp’s programme, tourism MSMEs will have access to zero interest, no-collateral loans with a loan term period of up to four years, including a corresponding grace period of up to one year. The borrower MSMEs will only need to pay a one-time service fee to the SB Corp calculated on the loan term period: 4% for one year; 6% for two years; 7.5% for three years; and 8% for four years.

According to SB Corp, MSMEs with financial statements (FS) in 2018 or 2019 filed with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and have no unresolved negative credit dealings are automatically eligible to apply for a loan.

The initial loan amount will not exceed PHP1 million for medium enterprises; PHP500,000 for small enterprises; and PHP200,000 for microenterprises. Applications a higher loan amount may be approved by the SB Corp, provided that enterprises submit their written plan on how to restart or improve their business models.

Earlier this month, Romulo-Puyat and Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez signed a memorandum of agreement approved the disbursement of a PHP6-billion budget allocated to the SB Corp’s CARES program under the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act (Bayanihan 2). The memorandum directed the agency to expand its loan programmes, to include tourism companies and administer loans for the DOT but subject to DOT guidelines.

“It was through our consultations with our stakeholders that we were able to pinpoint working capital loans as one – if not the most pressing need of tourism enterprises. Realizing the important role that MSMEs hold in the recovery of the tourism industry, the DOT shall see to it that the allocation for the CARES for TRAVEL programme is dispersed fairly to qualified enterprises,” Puyat added.

(Source: DOT, PNA)


  1. the dot-dti partnership is indeed a welcome assistance for existing travel smes… i hope that same assistance will be given to those about to start a travel business…
    i owned a lot wd beachfront that has a rock formation that looks like a ship… many tourist go there, but cannot stay by because i stii dont have the facilities, hence need financial assistance in terms of loans…i hope we can be included in this sb cares program under bayanihan 2

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