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7 of 10 Filipinos still eager to travel despite COVID-19, says survey

7 of 10 Filipinos still eager to travel despite COVID-19, says survey

By Miguel R. Camus, Inquirer Business

The emergence of new COVID-19 variants has not dampened demand for air travel, with seven of 10 passengers keen on pushing through with their trips this year, AirAsia Philippines said. 

“We are seeing that Filipinos are now much more confident to travel as we as a nation gain a better understanding of the pandemic and develop a more fitting culture of safety and vigilance,” AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricardo Isla said in a statement. 

This was based on the results of a survey commissioned by AirAsia Phillipines using big-data analytics firm Tangere that was conducted in December 2021.

The results showed continued strong appetite for air travel and a noticeable shift in habits as flyers now favored smaller groups and tighter budgets during the health crisis. 

The survey indicated that demand for domestic travel will remain robust with respondents keen on flying to Palawan (77 percent), Boracay (69 percent), Cebu (58 percent), Siargao (57 percent) and Bohol (52 percent). 
Davao also ranked high among Visayan travelers at 52 percent from respondents in the region. Once overseas borders are relaxed, the top international destinations were Seoul, South Korea (78 percent), Singapore (73 percent) and Osaka, Japan (71 percent). 

“At AirAsia, we are observing an uptrend in long-term bookings which signifies a more positive outlook on travel plans this year. But we are not letting our guard down. We will be consistent in prioritizing the safety and well-being of our guests as they fly to their intended destinations,” he added. 

AirAsia Philippines said 53 percent of respondents said they wanted to travel to spend time with families and friends. 

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Smaller travel parties will be the norm this year as 69 percent of respondents said they would travel with family instead of work colleagues or group tours. Another 40 percent planned to travel with their partners and 24 percent with close friends. 

Budgets will also be slashed for upcoming trips, the survey revealed. AirAsia Philippines said 38 percent of flyers wanted to limit travel expenses to below P15,000. Another 15 percent said they were willing to spend up to P20,000 while 13 percent were prepared to spend up to P40,000 for a trip. 

“Frugality has been expected by air carriers given the economic impact of COVID-19 and the long list of essentials in a pandemic, as well as the need to grow personal emergency funds,” the budget airline said. 

AirAsia Philippines recently reported a positive 11 percent increase in seat sales on a week-on-week basis in the first week of January. The top five destinations were Tacloban, Cebu, Caticlan, Panglao and Davao. •INQ