Pinoys willing to travel amid COVID

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    With nearly 8 of 10 Filipinos willing to travel again domestically even without a vaccine against the new coronavirus disease 2019, nearly five in 10 are ready to do so six months after the lifting of restrictions, results of the Philippine Travel Survey Report.

    Conducted on 12,732 respondents across the country in May, the survey yielded more hopeful results than an earlier government survey which showed only 28 percent of Filipinos are willing to travel, indicative of improved sentiment among travellers.

    The survey, a joint project of the Department of Tourism (DOT), Guide to the Philippines and the Asian Institute of Management, validates the DOT’s heightened promotion of domestic tourism which is seen to lead the recovery of the sector.

    The survey report showed return of foreign tourists as well as international travel for Filipinos will be slow to pick up due to border restrictions and the prohibition of leisure travel.

    The survey showed only 26 percent are willing to travel internationally within the next six months.

    Filipinos will cut their travel budgets (44 percent) as they expect reduced income (74 percent) and will only travel in nearby destinations.

    The top 10 sites indicated by respondents are Boracay, Siargao, Baguio, Metro Manila, Cebu, El Nido, Coron, Batangas, Bohol and La Union.

    The report noted travellers will also confine their activities to the outdoors like going to beaches as well as road trips with family and friends and would rather avail of private guided tours.

    The report also said travellers prefer online and digital channels when travelling from booking to check-in to lessen human interaction.

    “Domestic tourism expanded from P2.85 trillion in 2018 to P3.

    14 trillion in 2019. About 10.8 percent of the 12.7 perceny contribution of GDP of tourism is from domestic tourism making it the biggest contributor to the tourism industry,” said DOT Secretary Bernadette Puyat in a webinar that presented the survey results.

    Building travelers’ trust and confidence in the industry is vital in ensuring its recovery. The report recommends that establishments and organizations emphasize safety and be transparent in addressing customers’ concerns. It also recommends that tourism stakeholders closely collaborate with other authorities and find ways to innovate and adapt to the new normal—including digital shifts where it is needed—to help manage uncertainties about traveling.

    Earlier this month, the DOT released new health and safety guidelines in the new normal to local tourism-related sectors such as hotels, resorts, tourist transportation, surfing and restaurants in anticipation of their reopening.

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