PSA: Pinoy wanderers hike spending in vacations abroad

Ma. Stella F. Arnaldo / Special to the BusinessMirror

FILIPINOS are leaving the Philippines and giving in to their wanderlust for tourist destinations abroad.

According to the Philippine Tourism Satellite Accounts released by the Philippine Statistics Authority’s, outbound tourism expenditures surged by 88.6 percent to some P190 billion in 2022, from 2021’s P100.4 billion. Outbound tourism expenditures refer to the spending of Filipino visitors while traveling outside the country. It may include expenses of same-day visitors as well as overseas Filipino workers, and thus fall under “imports of goods of services” in the country’s balance of payments.

Last year’s outbound tourism expenditures were 44 percent short of the level in 2019, prior to the pandemic, which reached close to P342 billion.

In an interview, Aileen Clemente, president of Rajah Travel Corp., said the most popular holiday spot for Filipinos continues to be “Japan, still our number one. This is followed by other Southeast Asian neighbors—Singapore and Bangkok. Then of course, Hong Kong.”

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However, she said the vacation sports in the Western Hemisphere are not far behind. Filipinos are also traveling to “Europe, the United States, and Canada, especially given that if you have a US visa, it won’t be difficult for you to go to Canada.” Rajah Travel is the local agent for Insight Vacations, an exclusive collection of premium guided tours and cruises, a brand under the The Travel Corp.

She noted that international travel is still not back to 2019 levels in terms of the number of transactions, “but definitely way past 50 percent.” She attributed this to the continued limitation of international flights “because of the lack of pilots, crew, and planes. You really have to book very early to get good rates. Even getting visas for some countries takes some time,” Clemente

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New tourism grants seek to keep Virginians in state for their vacations

Communities across Virginia are about to launch new tourism initiatives. They’ll be encouraging people to drive to destinations in Virginia rather than flying out of state for vacations.

The pandemic might not be over yet, but tourism officials in Virginia say it’s time for a road trip. That’s why they’re hitting the accelerator on DRIVE 2.0 – sending $10,000 grants to 27 communities across Virginia — everywhere from Alleghany Highlands and Scott County to the Town of Damascus and Fairfax County.

Susan Payne is chairwoman of the Virginia Tourism Corporation.

“Driving rather than flying away on vacation or leaving the state but staying in the state and visiting what’s available in Virginia,” Payne says.

The plans are built around a hub and spoke model, identifying regional lures and attractions around hubs like Busch Gardens or Virginia Beach. Caroline Logan is director of communications at the Virginia Tourism Corporation.

“People are coming to Virginia to experience these iconic destinations and attractions, and what we do with the hub-and-spoke model is organize the other lures while they’re here,” Logan explains. “So, of course they may be going to Virginia Beach but they’re going to go and see a museum. They’re going to go to a winery. They’re going to do some outdoor recreation.”

The planning for these grants started before COVID-19 disrupted the economy, but tourism officials say now is an ideal time to create some buzz around an industry that was hit hard by the pandemic.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

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