Travel appetite up

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    While Filipinos are now more confident and willing to travel, a behavior that could pose opportunities for the revival of business, tourism enterprises continue to suffer from cash flow concerns.

    On the foreign travellers’ side, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat is hopeful the Philippines can open its borders to visitors beyond balikbayans.

    At a press conference announcing the reopening of Intramuros yesterday, Puyat also cited the benefit of placing the country to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) as this will open the tourism industry.

    She said while more sectors have been opened even under GCQ — national tourist attractions, historical landmarks and meetings, incentives, conference and exhibitions — tourism will be “freer” under MGCQ, thus restoring some of the 4.8 million workers displaced by the pandemic.

    Results of a survey conducted by the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) between November and December 2020 showed Filipinos’ travel behavior has changed compared with the May 2020 survey.

    The findings show Filipinos are now more willing to travel multiple destinations and extend their trips .

    Interestingly, Filipinos have cited “for my sanity” as their main trigger to travel followed by “a more relaxed atmosphere in the community” and “getting used to the basic health protocols.”

    With this, the study said heritage sites may be used to jumpstart tourism activity. This could also disperse travellers to untapped destinations.

    Like in the previous survey, personalized or bespoke as well as outdoor activities like beaches, hiking and biking will continue to drive tourism followed by staycation, particularly with family members.

    The same survey said financial survival remains to be the most pressing concern of tourism enterprises.

    Businesses also clamor for assistance in marketing and promotion.