ONCE TRAVEL RESUMES: Family vacations top Filipinos’ list

    Beach and nature escapades top Filipinos’ bucket lists.

    Survey shows the lockdown has strengthened family ties and Filipinos’ ideal travel is a destination away from home where more meaningful family moments can be created.

    FILIPINOS have nurtured deeper connections with their loved ones while staying indoors amid the pandemic. According to Airbnb’s Philippine Travel Trends Survey 2021 by international data analytics firm YouGov, it will no longer be about “where” and “when” it will take place such that it is more about “who” they will spend it with.

    A total of 1,067 Filipinos were surveyed between February 4 to 8 with the aim of knowing how and where Filipinos will be travelling this 2021.

    The pandemic has strengthened the ties of Filipino families due to the long lockdown, with 88 percent of respondents saying they felt more connected with their families during the public health crisis.

    Amanpreet Bajaj, general manager at Airbnb for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said their ideal travel is a safe get away from home where more meaningful family moments can be created.

    Also, 60 percent of respondents plan on connecting with their immediate and extended families on their first trip, once travel resumes.

    Family vacations remain the top travel priority for Filipinos. Interestingly, shopping and business trips ranked last.

    Safety and affordability are prime concerns in choosing lodging, with 64 percent of respondents saying they consider health and safety protocols in deciding for their accommodations in their next trip, followed by affordability.

    The survey also showed Filipinos are veering away from mass travel toward less crowded, more mindful and slower travel. The survey showed that 53 percent of respondents prefer traveling to less crowded, off-the-beaten-path destinations.

    Filipinos are responsible tourists, as eight out of 10 often consider the environment and sustainability in choosing their accommodations.

    Filipinos want to reconnect with nature. Respondents mostly want to travel close to nature for their first trip after the pandemic, followed by a family or friend’s home.

    Beach and nature escapades top Filipinos’ bucket lists. Boracay remains the top domestic travel destination for Filipinos, followed by Palawan, Baguio, Siargao and Tagaytay.

    Bajaj believes that travel is resilient and will bounce back with time and anticipates that unique and family-friendly travel will serve as the impetus for domestic tourism recovery.

    While Airbnb is very positive about the gradual recovery of domestic travel in the Philippines, it wants to drive sustainable long-term growth of stay and experiences.

    There are over 39,000 listings in the Philippines as of 2019. Airbnb’s economic impact in the Philippines was $1 billion in the same year, with over 161,300 jobs supported directly and indirectly.

    Airbnb said it will ensure that its offerings are aligned in the new reality and are appropriate in terms of prioritizing the interest and wellbeing of its stakeholders.

    In response to the pandemic, Bajaj said the platform rolled out its frontline stays program to provide temporary housing to COVID-19 responders, partnering with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF).

    He said the initiative was launched globally and over 100,000 hosts have opened their doors to modern-day heroes – all following the health and safety protocols in accordance with the local policies and medical advice.

    Filipino hosts signed up to provide homes that follow cleanliness protocols based on recommendations from medical experts, Bajaj related. All hosts who opened their homes for free received a cleaning subsidy.

    The platform has also partnered with Unilever, a PDRF partner company, to donate disinfectant kits to hosts who sign up for the said program.

    Guidelines have also been introduced that detail host and guest requirements on mask wearing and social distancing practices to increase the overall safety and cleanliness of stays on Airbnb, Bajaj said.

    In the middle of the crisis, Airbnb announced the launch of its Enhanced Cleaning Protocol, a comprehensive program with standardized guidelines for cleaning and sanitization of homes and materials to support safer travel around the world.

    It likewise partnered with health and hospitality experts, including US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and former US surgeon general Dr. Vivek Murthy.

    According to Bajaj, Airbnb is now working with medical experts in the Philippines to ensure that guidelines are in accordance with local protocols.

    Through the Extenuating Circumstances Policy, he said guests have cancellation and refund options, and hosts can cancel without charge or impact to their Superhost status. To aid recovery efforts, around 8,700 Superhosts worldwide have received grants of up to $5,000 through the Superhost Relief Fund.

    The platform also launched Airbnb Experiences that feature one-of-a-kind activities designed and led by locals all over the world, as it figured out that people want to travel around their interests.