Travel sector remains bullish over recovery

We want to contribute and be part of the full recovery effort of the travel industry and we want to use our Travel Tour Expo as the main vehicle for promoting tourism in the country.

As one of the worst hit industries when strict mobility restrictions were imposed during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, incurring billions of losses and shuttered businesses in their industry, the Philippine Travel Agencies Association said they remain bullish for their industry toward the last quarter of the year and the years to come.

As of end-March 2021, the travel industry has an accumulated losses of $47.7 billion.

With this, PTTA president Michelle Taylan, on Friday, said that indeed there’s light at the end of the tunnel, so long the Covid-19 cases will not escalate into a problematic one just like in 2020 and 2021.
She said the continuous staging of travel fairs since borders reopened proves that the tourism sector is on its way to recovery.

“Based on our booking experiences even in (Southeast Asia), that is actually their problem now because they have limited airline this time and a lot of foreign tourists are arriving. Same thing here in the Philippines since the borders were reopened,” she said.

Taylan said in July, the PTAA successfully capped the 2022 Travel Tour Expo and International Travel Trade Expo, with 30,000 to 45,000 attending in three days.

For next year’s travel expo, Taylan said their group is geared to double this year’s figure, along with the number of exhibitors approximately to reach 400 running more than 1,000 booths, which would include tour agencies and airlines offering various packages at a discounted rate.

Apart from local tour packages, travel offers to destinations in Asia and even as far as Africa will also be sold at the expo.

“We want to contribute and be part of the full recovery effort of the travel industry and we want to use our Travel Tour Expo as the main vehicle in promoting tourism in the country,” Taylan said.

The 2023 travel expo is set to be held at the SMX Convention Center on 3 to 5 February next year.

The PTAA only projected a million inbound tourists for 2022, but the latest figures from the Department of Tourism already recorded 1.3 million foreigners before the year ends.

“I can say that we are now getting back to what we used to do. And we are at the peak of recovery. Especially now, we are in need also of tourism front-liners, we are lacking tourism front-liners, so that means that the jobs in the tourism industry are also coming back,” Taylan said.

New hotline

Meanwhile, Tourism Secretary Maria Christina Frasco, also on Friday, announced that they will be launching a “tourist assistance call center” by the end of 2022 to help both local and foreign travelers when traveling around the Philippines.

“We fully intend for this tourist assistance call center to be multilingual so as to be able to correspond to the needs of international tourists as well,” Frasco said in her speech.

She said she envisions the call center as a one-stop shop where tourists could get information and raise their travel concerns.

Aside from this, the DoT will also come up with a Tourist Lifecycle App, which Frasco said would serve as a “super app” that connects tourists to accredited tourism establishments, rides, restaurants, tour operators, and tour guides.

The app will feature an e-commerce platform that showcases Filipino products.

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