Domestic travel will lead the recovery of the country’s tourism industry, with Filipino travelers expecting to go to destinations closer to home and spending less amid lingering health concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic—according to the Department of Tourism surveying Filipinos’ on travel behavior in the new normal. The key insights of the survey (which you can read in full here), conducted last May among over 12,000 respondents across the country, were:
1. Domestic leisure travel will lead the recovery of Philippine tourism;
2. Majority of travelers expect a reduction of their income and travel budget;
3. Health and safety remains the primary concern of travelers;
4. Travelers prefer reduced-contact activities once leisure travel restrictions are lifted;
5. Travelers prefer online and digital channels for convenience and reduced contact; and
6. Travelers plan to travel close to home.
“We believe in a collaborative approach to recovery,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat. “The survey, which was distributed online, sought the sentiments and concerns that respondents have concerning domestic travel in light of the pandemic, in order to provide insights to tourism enterprises to better prepare, respond, and serve guests and tourists again.”
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Domestic Leisure Travel will be a Huge Driver
The survey found that domestic travel will lead the recovery of the Philippine travel industry, with 77 percent of respondents expressing their willingness to travel to local destinations once restrictions are lifted. More than half of the respondents also look forward to travel for leisure or vacation. Popular local tourist spots, especially beaches, are expected to see a surge in visitors. Boracay, Siargao, and Baguio top the list of destinations to visit when travel is permitted again. Filipinos also prefer to travel to destinations closer to home.
The majority of the respondents also prefer activities they deem “safe” with limited face-to-face interaction. Top travel activities that are high on their minds are beach trips, road trips, and staycations at 69, 54, and 41 percent, respectively.
Health and Safety Still Travelers’ Top Priority
Although Filipinos expressed a desire to travel as soon as restrictions are lifted, their main concern is still their health and safety. The pandemic has raised traveler expectations on health and safety, with more than 80 percent of the respondents expecting tourism establishments to follow best practices in sanitation and health. At least 88 percent of respondents also express willingness to comply with existing health and safety protocols, such as undergoing rapid COVID-19 tests prior to departure and submitting a medical certificate before traveling.