People are now said to be inclined to undertake revenge travel to various destinations to make up for lost time and enjoy their newfound freedom now that pandemic restrictions are being relaxed.
This phenomenon is called revenge travel and is used to describe trips to family reunions, revisiting favorite vacation spots, going on splurge vacations or simply spending time outside the city.
Joanna Dechosa was set to go home via bus to Cabanatuan with her companion Jing Orfilia. In an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Joanna noted that traveling to the provinces and back to Manila is easier now that there are more trips and fewer restrictions.
“Trips before had limited schedule and you had to be vaccinated before you can even ride a bus. Now, that’s no longer the case. Now its definitely a lot better,” Joanna noted as they waited for their trip at a bus station in Cubao, Quezon City.
Another man approached by PNA said he was taking advantage of the ease and availability of travel to and from Pangasinan so that his child can go around. “I want my child to visit the province and unwind,” he said.
The Philippine tourism industry was previously one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 restrictions. The government soon started relaxing protocols and travel requirements in early 2022, all the while anticipating the surge of travelers to engaged in revenge tourism.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said tourism is one of the potential drivers for the transformation of the economy. In his first State of the Nation Address in July 2022, he cited the need for basic developments such as road improvements and easier access to tourist spots. He also called for an enhanced Filipino brand tapping on the Philippines’ rich cultural heritage, sense of pride, and identity.
By the end of 2022, the tourism sector breached its 1.7 million target with 2.65 million international visitor arrivals as of yearend, earning the country P208 billion or US$3.68 billion. DOT now targets 4.8 million international tourists this 2023.
Among the benefits of an improved tourism sector is the creation of more jobs, as more businesses such as bus lines, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and even transport services open and expand to cater to travelers.
Vic, an Angkas rider, said there are more riders ferrying passengers nowadays, some of whom ask to be taken to bus terminals. “A while ago, one of my passengers coming from Novaliches said he was going to Nueva Ecija,” he said.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor and former Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat earlier said the uptrend in revenge tourism will lead to continued economic recovery. Toward this end, various government agencies support DOT in improving infrastructure that will further enhance tourism experience.
The Department of Budget and Management said around P6.4 billion would be used in support of DOT’s promotional campaigns. While the
Department of Transportation has committed to pursue important and major infrastructure projects to boost tourism and unlock the economic potential of far-flung areas.
These big-ticket projects include airport projects such as New Manila International Airport in Bulacan and Sangley Point International Airport in Cavite; the Metro Manila Subway and related subway projects; the EDSA Busway Carousel; and improvements in social tourism and commercial ports.
The PNA chanced upon James Arthur de Guzman, who was preparing for his trip to Pangasinan in Cubao. He noted how easy it is to travel lately despite heavy traffic and difficulties in getting rides due to the influx of commuters.
“It was a lot challenging before but now, our transportation system has vastly improved. We are now going back to the pre-pandemic situation of commuters,” he said.
To further attract international tourists, the DOT launched the Bisita Be My Guest program, which incentivizes Filipinos who will invite foreign tourists to the country with travel discounts, vacation packages, and a chance to win a condominium.
Filipinos eager to undertake revenge tourism are likely to flock to the usual local destinations such as Baguio City, Cebu, Siargao Islands, or just around Manila. Last January, the DOT welcomed the inclusion of Eastern Visayas among the top local and international destinations recommended for “revenge travel” this 2023.
In a listing in the Philippine Star’s Life magazine, Angel Juarez of lakwatsero.com cited natural wonders in the region, such as the Kalanggaman Island of Leyte, the waterfalls of Biliran, and the caves of Samar.
With the warm season and summer months coming soon, Filipinos can expect more opportunities to go on vacation even with protocols against Covid-19 still in place.
When asked where they would like to spend an actual vacation, Joanna and Jing simply answered, “Boracay po, or Palawan.” (PNA)