MANILA, Philippines — Most Filipinos prefer traveling to destinations closer to where they live once domestic travel for leisure will be allowed amid the public health crisis caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), results of a survey showed.
“Travelers across the different Philippine regions have shown a preference for traveling to destinations closer to their place of residence,” said a portion of the survey entitled “The Philippine Travel Survey Report: Insights on Filipino Travelers’ Sentiments on the New Normal.”
For instance, some of the 12,732 respondents living in Metro Manila and the Luzon area would choose to have their vacation in tourist destinations like Baguio, La Union, El Nido and Coron in Palawan and the Bicol region.
Those living in the Visayas region would travel to Boracay, Cebu, Iloilo and Bohol, it added.
Mindanao residents, on the other hand, would prefer going to Cagayan de Oro, Davao and Siargao.
Meanwhile, 13.7 percent of the respondents chose Boracay as their first destination once community quarantine rules on domestic travel are relaxed. The world-famous island was followed by Siargao, Baguio (both 9.21 percent), Metro Manila (8.5 percent), Cebu (7.17 percent), El Nido (6.75 percent), Coron (6.28 percent), Batangas (5.49 percent), Bohol (4.59 percent) and La Union (4.2 percent).
Travelers who joined the survey would either go to the beach (69 percent) and on road trips (54 percent) or enjoy staycations (41 percent) in these areas, the survey noted.
Also, 48 percent of them hope to travel within six months after travel restrictions are lifted.
Most of the respondents also said they would travel if the following conditions are met: when a treatment for COVID-19 is available (84 percent); when there is a vaccine (77 percent); when there are no new COVID-19 cases (73 percent) and when the rate of infection becomes slower (64 percent).
They would also choose to avail of the following tourism activities and services that they think are safe and could ensure self-isolation: staying in a hotel or resort; solo travel or backpacking; going on a private guided tour. They would rather be with family or friends than mingle with strangers, the survey added.
The survey, conducted by the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) and online tourism marketplace Guide to the Philippines, also showed that domestic travel would revive the country’s tourism industry once local travel is no longer restricted, saying “the silver lining lies with domestic travelers.”
DOT secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat again called on tourism businesses to follow health and safety protocols set by government before opening. For instance, hotels and accommodation establishments would be required to seek authority from the agency before operating.
DOT assistant secretary Roberto Alabado III believes that domestic tourism in the country could probably “start next year.”
“June to December this year is what we call the period of recoil where different levels of community quarantine in the country are still enforced… it is very crucial to us,” he said during the presentation of the survey.
Local tourists would want to travel “to look for more meaningful experiences when they go,” said Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) president Jose Clemente III. “People will look forward to being enhanced by travel.”
He added that areas which “have better control of the (COVID-19) pandemic will be the ones to gain the fastest regional travel market.”
Local tourists might want their next travel to be memorable and filled with experience, Alabado said. “For instance, they would venture into cultural tourism because they want the experience… also, there are opportunities for farm tourism where they could learn about healthy food and wellness and learn new skills, or try nature-based tourism where they could practice fitness and healthy living.”
He also said tourism enterprises are given the chance to “repackage their areas (by) open(ing) tours to locals” now that domestic tourism is encouraged.
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