Philippine Domestic Travel – Why It Is Beneficial To Philippine Economy

Introduction

While many countries are still reeling out of the pandemic’s effects on the economy,  as citizens, how will you help? Four words – Buy local, go local!

Undoubtedly, the travel industry has been one of the most hard-hit by the Covid-19. It has brought the airline, cruising, and convention industries to their knees. Industry experts still see a silver lining amidst all the nimbus clouds – and that is, start with domestic tourism.

As some lockdown and social distancing policies are beginning to relax globally, domestic tourism will be at the forefront in the revival of economies and play a crucial role as a barometer of their countries’ health and security.

Benefits of Domestic Travel to Philippine Economy

The world travel body WTTC report says 73% of total tourism spending derives from the domestic market. Hence, if you start rebuilding the industry by attracting the local market, it is considered a key driver for growth.

Many micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) depend heavily on domestic tourism to thrive in the Philippines. A local town or beach destination may depend on domestic tourism for their livelihood, generate jobs, and improve their infrastructure.

Pinoy domestic travellers are a tourist town’s hotel, local restaurants, and other tourism establishments’ income sources. These businesses hire residents to provide services, thus generating jobs. Tourists stay in the accommodation,  eat in their restaurants, go touring the different town sites with a local guide, and buy souvenir items produced by local craftsmen.

The benefits flow further down to the farmers who sell their produce, the fishermen delivering their catch of the day, and other small businesses that supply these establishments with goods and services.  When promoted regularly, these activities create economic importance since the money spent on tourism fuels the local town’s economy. If duplicated throughout the country, it creates a positive ripple effect on the national economy.

How to Create Interest for Domestic Tourists

As we have expected, travelling in the new norm will entail many changes. Almost every Philippine province requires an RT-PCR (swab) test of each tourist before entering. Not only is there an added cost for the traveller, but there is also the dreaded discomfort (swabbing your nose is uncomfortable, yes?), and inconvenience (to go to an accredited hospital or clinic requires time and patience).

For this extra step taken by the tourists to reach your destination, hotels, restaurants, and tourist sites are encouraged to give more relevant promotions. Pinoys want to revive local tourism in a safe and healthy environment, but they are also selective about spending their money. Continuously highlighting your hotel facilities using the same tone will quickly get stale, and travellers will look elsewhere. But if you create a promotion tied up with a local event or festival, it creates brand new interest for the local community again.

Drum up interest and tickle your domestic travellers’ feet by focusing on local points of interest with Instagrammable images. Then, partner with local restaurants for a discount for guests who stay in your hotel. Similarly, co-branding with a local theme or tourist park for a free ticket for every X number of nights’ stay in your hotel.

Conclusion

The preceding discussion illustrates how domestic tourism can be profitable for all sectors. The advantages cover both tangible and intangible. The Philippines Department of Tourism 2018 data show that domestic tourists number 110M with tourism expenditure at P3.2 trillion. Reports from Phil. Tourism Satellite Accounts say that an estimated two million people below the poverty level benefited from this sturdy tourism growth.

We believe the numbers will return after this pandemic. Even if it takes 1-2 years, we need to take that first step of inviting domestic tourists back to our shores.

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