Six out of 10 Filipinos said family vacation will be the primary reason to travel this year, while enjoying free time to unwind and relax, including visiting relatives and close friends, were key motivators for them to go back on the road.
These were the highlighted results of the “Airbnb Philippines Travel Trends Survey 2021” with international data analytics firm YouGov.
The survey explored the travel preferences and behaviors of Filipinos for 2021 even while still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel with immediate and extended family was the top reason for domestic travel, with 88 percent of all respondents saying they felt more connected with their families during the pandemic.
About 64 percent noted safety and health protocols and 61 percent pointed to affordability as top considerations when choosing travel accommodation. Over half of all respondents, about 53 percent, also expressed preference for traveling to less crowded, off-the-beaten-path locations and not mass tourist hotspots.
Road trips are also expected to gain traction as the top choice for Filipinos’ first trip post-pandemic, as respondents indicated that they wanted to travel close to nature and to places outside their communities well within driving distance. Beachside destinations also topped Filipinos’ bucket lists in 2021, with Boracay emerging as respondents’ top go-to destination, followed closely by Palawan, Baguio, Siargao and Tagaytay.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns across the country have further strengthened the close ties of the pamilyang Pilipino. After months apart, Filipinos are keen to travel to spend meaningful quality time with their loved ones, including their immediate and extended families and close friends. Travellers are also looking at slower, more mindful travel amidst nature. We believe that travel is resilient and will bounce back with time, and we anticipate that unique and family-friendly travel will serve as the impetus for domestic tourism recovery,” shares Amanpreet Bajaj, General Manager for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan at Airbnb.
When asked by Frontpageph.com about their initiatives with the national government and the Department of Tourism (DOT), Bajaj said they know the DOT has launched the Tourism Response and Recovery Program with multiple stakeholders involved.
“Our aim is primarily to be a strategic partner to the government, promote the gradual reopening of domestic tourism, and support the local economy so that small entrepreneurs and local hospitality players are able to get the benefits of these tourism initiatives,” Bajaj explained.
What Airbnb is also doing, Bajaj said further, is to make sure that they are educating and creating awareness about the Airbnb platform so that people can understand its unique offerings on all kinds of accommodations.
He said Airbnb also plans to share some of its learnings from global best practices, given that they are a global platform present in over 220 countries. “Our policy teams are making sure that they are engaged with countries’ respective tourism boards as well as other departments so that they can create the most sustainable way forward for Airbnb hosts and listings to be part of the overall tourism landscape in the Philippines,” he added.
Last year, research from Oxford Economics found that Airbnb was a valuable pillar of the tourism industry in 2019, contributing to US$1 billion in economic impact and supporting over 160,000 jobs in the Philippines alone.
In April 2020, Airbnb expanded its global Frontline Stays initiative to provide housing to COVID-19 responders, partnering with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF). Filipino Hosts signed up to provide homes that follow cleanliness protocols based on recommendations from medical experts. All Hosts who opened their homes for free received a cleaning subsidy. Unilever, a PDRF partner company also donated disinfectant kits to Hosts who sign up for the Frontline Stays program.
The company also introduced its global Enhanced Cleaning initiative for Airbnb Hosts, the first standardized protocol for cleaning and sanitization in the home-sharing industry.
Endorsed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and former US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, the protocol is comprised of comprehensive guidelines for cleaning and sanitization for homes and materials to support cleaner travel around the world.