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Freeman Cebu Business

Domestic travelers spur tourism growth

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - An economist said that tourism stakeholders need not look far to boost tourism receipts as domestic travelers alone could significantly propel the tourism sector.

Bernardo Villegas said the instant contributors to the tourism industry are the Filipinos themselves stressing that the 40 million domestic tourists could further increase in volume if attractions and marketing promotions are geared towards the local traveling market.

He said that with the high purchasing power of Filipinos these days, especially the young working population in the BPO industry, the tourism industry has a rich potential market right at its own backyard.

This particular market, otherwise known as the millennials are the ones spending their weekends and vacation leave credits to explore destinations within the Philippines.

Earlier, the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA) expressed confidence that domestic tourism will further increase and surpass projections on the strength of an emerging “millennial” market.

"The millennial market is really the upcoming market not only in the tourism industry,” said Philtoa president Cesar Cruz in a report,

According to Cruz, the industry projects the Philippines could also be a hub for inter-Asean travel.

Cruz added that the traveling market has matured and is choosing more of the domestic destinations, adding that local government units have been more involved in tourism.

Record from the National Statistics Office (NSO) indicated that four in 10 Filipinos who are 15 years old and above traveled within the country in 2012.

Based on the 2012 Household Survey on Domestic Visitors, an estimated 25.7 million Filipinos who are 15 years old and above had traveled to any place within the country.

The survey showed there were more female domestic travelers as they accounted for 52.2 percent of the number, while male travelers made up the balance or 47.8 percent.

Out of the 25.7 million domestic travelers, 27.9 percent were in the age group 15 to 24, while 25.8 percent were in the age group 25 to 34.

The two age groups combined made up more than half or 53.7 percent of the total domestic travelers.

Those in ages 35 to 44 years comprised 19.4 percent, while those in ages 45 to 54 years accounted for 14.4 percent.

Among the long holiday weekends, the most preferred period for domestic travels were Rizal Day and New Year wherein nearly half of the domestic travelers traveled mainly for pleasure or vacation.

In terms of planning the trip, most domestic travelers preferred to arrange their own trips, with 98 percent of respondents choosing to come up with their own tour and only 1.3 percent availing of package tours.

Domestic travelers who arranged their most recent independent trip irrespective of purpose, spent an average of P1,563.

Independent travelers whose main purpose for taking the trip was for pleasure or vacation spent more with the average amount at P1,818.

The average expenditure of travelers who paid for a package tour regardless of purpose was at P8,372, while those who paid for a package tour and whose main purpose of travel was for pleasure or vacation reported an average expenditure of P11,870. (FREEMAN)

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