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Travel and Tourism

Domestic travel seen to recover in 12 months

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star
Domestic travel seen to recover in 12 months
Boracay reopened to tourists from the Western Visayas region last June 16, a first step in the recovery of domestic tourism.

MANILA, Philippines — “The survey results strongly indicate that domestic travel demand will take a year or more to recover. Travelers remain cautious amidst concerns over health, income and work,” Chroma Hospitality said in the results of its Domestic Travel Sentiment Survey.

Survey results showed that domestic travel demand looks poised to substantially recover within a 12-month period with 29 percent of respondents expressing desire to travel in one to three months and an additional 61 percent desire to travel in six to 12 months. In addition, 74 percent of the 7,515 respondents said that their first trip will be leisure oriented. 

“This indicates that demand will be suppressed and revenues in the industry will continue to stay at historic lows for the foreseeable future,” Chroma Hospitality said. In line with this, the research found that it is crucial for the government to extend financial assistance and ease tax obligations to tourism business owners to minimize the impact of this health crisis to the Philippine tourism industry.

“It is clear that the impact of the pandemic on the tourism business has been severe, and it will take more than the government stimulus package to help the industry recuperate,” Chroma Hospitality said.

“There is a need to strengthen public and private partnerships and encourage all stakeholders in the tourism industry to come together and help recover from the damage this pandemic has caused,” it added.

Results of the survey also suggested that millennials aged 26 to 40 years and Generation X aged 41 to 55 years will be the first group to travel domestically.

“Once permitted to travel, 74 percent will travel for leisure, staycations and visiting friends and family,” Chroma Hospitality said.

“This is a good sign for tourism stakeholders and it is important to ease leisure travel restrictions while ensuring that safety guidelines and protocols are consistently implemented by the entire tourism ecosystem (hotels, airlines, airport, transportation and travel agencies),” it added.

Chroma Hospitality emphasized that given the preference for leisure travel, government and tourism stakeholders should double up efforts to safely open up leisure destinations.

“Some suggestions, among others, include a more aggressive phased reopening of locations with low to zero COVID-19 cases, creating COVID-19 testing facilities in leisure destinations and strict implementation of accepted safety protocols,” it added.

Last week, the Boracay Inter-Agency Taskforce approved the recommendation of Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores to gradually open up Boracay for tourism starting June 16, with only tourists from the Western Visayas region allowed.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat earlier said that local government units as well as tourism stakeholders are eyeing a slow but sure approach in reopening their tourist destinations to ensure that safety protocols are implemented.

Results of the survey also showed that health and safety are the most important domestic travel considerations. This focuses on enhanced room sanitation, public area sanitation and hand sanitizers being available in all public areas.

While considering health and safety protocols, most respondents expected the following services, amenities and practices in accommodation establishments: in-room dining, daily room housekeeping, hotel staff in PPE, mini bar and gift shop.

“We encourage our industry partners to establish a Culture of Clean-type pro

gram in their establishments to help mitigate the fear of traveling. For hotels, these measures should include enhanced room sanitation, enhanced public area sanitation and readily accessible hand sanitation stations,” Chroma Hospitality said.

The Domestic Travel Sentiment Survey was conducted from May 8 to 26 and received 7,515 respondents from across the Philippines. The survey asked questions regarding the effects of COVID-19 on respondents’ employment, their pre-COVID-19 travel history and post-COVID-19 travel expectations.

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