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Saturday
Nov162013

Philippine Tourism Industry Fears Typhoon Will Harm Season

Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images(TACLOBAN, Philippines) -- After Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines last week, devasting the provinces of Leyte and Eastern Samar, and areas in the Southern Tagalog Region, other, unaffected parts of the country may soon feel residual impact should the natural disaster deter travelers from visiting resorts during peak season.

The Philippines remains a "safe" destination for all tourists, the Department of Tourism wrote in a statement, noting that tourism is one of the major contributors to the Southeast Asian country's economy and will contribute toward rebuilding efforts for affected families.

According to reports, 5.9 percent of the Philippines' gross domestic product in 2011 came from the travel sector.

Ports of entry are currently keeping most of the top destinations reachable, including "Boracay Island through Kalibo and Caticlan, Cebu through the Mactan International Airport, Bohol through the Tagbilaran Airport, Iloilo through the Iloilo and Bacolod Silay Airports, and Puerto Princesa, Palawan through the Puerto Princesa Airport," the statement announced.

But power outages and supply shortages in places like Bohol may make it difficult to keep businesses open in the immediate future.

"For sure there will be more guest cancellations for Christmas and New Year's," Cornelis de Wijn, general manager at Anda White Beach Resort in Bohol, told The Wall Street Journal. "It will (cause) a big impact on all the resort owners, because it's our main season."

Cebu Pacific Air, the biggest budget carrier in the Philippines, had to cancel more than 180 round-trip flights since the typhoon, according to reports. The airline did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for comment.

In other parts of the world, colleagues in the travel industry have responded to the natural disaster with an outpouring of donations for recovery efforts.

Donations from United Airlines, employees and customers surpassed $850,000 for AmeriCares, American Red Cross and Operation USA to aid relief efforts in the Philippines. The company is also offering bonus miles to MileagePlus members who donate.

"These organizations are doing such important work, and we will continue to help raise funds for their efforts," said Mark Anderson, United's senior vice president of corporate and government affairs.

The Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation (CICF) also announced a $100,000 donation to the American Red Cross.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the devastating and tragic storm in the Philippines, which is the home country of so many cruise line crew members," CLIA CEO Christine Duffy said.

Individual cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Corporation & PLC, Crystal Cruises and Paul Gauguin Cruises, have contributed more than $2,237,500 in total to Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts in the Philippines.

Known for its white sand and crystalline waters, the Philippines' Boracay Island was voted the best beach in Asia in the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2013. The Secret Lagoon of El Nido, Palawan and Boracay's Yapak Beach also made the top 10.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio