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Tourism bounces back, love for travel on the revenge

The absence of travel during the two years of halted global movement due to the pandemic, makes the heart grow fonder.  This time, love for travel is taking revenge.

Revenge travel is a global phenomenon which is gaining popularity and is creating a positive trend in the tourism industry statistics, globally. 

In 2022, Western Visayas hosted a total of 4,282,519 tourists with the world famous Boracay welcoming 1,759,592 tourists, followed by Bacolod City with 618,682 tourist arrivals, as reported by the Department of Tourism.

Regional Development Council 6 chair and Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez said the resumption of tourism activities contributed to the positive performance of the sector, enabling the region’s 9.3 percent growth, registered as the highest economic growth rate among all regions, exceeding the national average of 7.2 percent.

The Kalibo International Airport and the Godofredo P. Ramos Airport in Caticlan, catering to an average of 45 domestic flights daily and about 30 International flights weekly. 

Loong Air, which resumed operations after the pandemic, was honored with a ceremonial water cannon salute for its GJ8289 maiden flight on June 28 from Hangzhou, China that carried 171 passengers.

Loong Air from Hangzhou, China carrying 171 passengers gets a ceremonial water cannon salute for its GJ8289 maiden flight on June 28, 2023 at the Kalibo International Airport. Photo courtesy of CAAP-Kalibo

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines-Kalibo said Loong Air will operate six times a week at the KIA. This is the second airline company which has direct flights from the provinces of China, along with OK Air.

Malay Tourism Officer Felix Gregorio Delos Santos said that the local government unit of Malay sets a target of 1.8 to 2 million tourist arrivals in Boracay for this year.  Records showed that tourist arrivals in Boracay Island from January to June 15, 2023, have already reached 1,040,847 breaching its target of one million by the end of June.

Tourists line up for a ferry ride which will bring them to Boracay Island. Photo: Sheila Patoza - PIA Region VI

“The tourism industry of the Island gradually bounces back with the increased volume of visiting tourists and bookings at the different accommodations and establishments in Boracay.  Currently, arrivals of international tourists are mostly from Korea, USA, China, while those from Australia and the United Kingdom are also picking up,” Delos Santos affirmed.

Sailboats serve as backdrop as tourists enjoy the shade of coconut trees at the famous white-sand Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan. Photo; Sheila Patoza - PIA Region VI

Meanwhile, the smiles of Bacolodnons were made sweeter with the recognition from the Department of Tourism 6 during its recent 1st Tourism Appreciation Night dubbed as “Pagdayaw 2023".  Pagdayaw, a Hiligaynon term for ‘praise’ recognizes tourism stakeholders on their contribution to the efforts to bring tourism to the forefront again.

DOT 6 recognized Bacolod City for being one of the Top Contributing Cities in Tourist Arrivals (overnight-stay tourists) in Western Visayas for the year 2022 as well as its support in the campaign on accreditation of tourism establishments in the region.

Bacolod Tourism Operations Officer Ma. Teresa Manalili, who was also recognized as “Best Tourism Officer” during the Gawad Agustino-Gabi ng Parangal of the Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod, said there is nowhere else to go but up as to the tourism statistics for Bacolod City.

This year, the DOT sets a target of 700,000 tourist arrivals for Bacolod City which, as of April has already reached close to 300,000 tourists largely because of Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE), one of the tourism drivers in the city.

“The program now of the Bacolod City Tourism Office is really intensifying our MICE programs here with proper promotions and strategies.  We are also seeing the opening of big hotel chains here in Bacolod,” Manalili added.

The 2022 MassKara Festival, which sets the start of the festival season in the country post-COVID, has brought in, around 150,000 tourists to Bacolod City.

MassKara Festival goes global as it conquers the streets of New York during the Philippine Independence Day celebration there. Photo courtesy of Bacolod City Tourism office

Among the top destinations in Bacolod City include the May’s Organic Garden, Bantug Lake Ranch and the Bacolod City Government Center, according to the data from the Bacolod City Tourism Office.

left photo: May’s Organic Garden; right photo: Bantug Lake Ranch

Recently, the Department of Tourism launched its latest slogan LOVE The Philippines which encapsulates Filipinos’ penchant for travel. 

In Western Visayas domestic tourists reached 4,045,584 in 2022, a clear indication of revenge travel phenomenon happening in the country after the pandemic.  

The figures do not lie on how the Filipinos love the Philippines, and if revenge can be this good, let it be. (EAD- PIA Region VI)

Bacolod City Government Center

About the Author

Kate Shiene Austria

Information Officer III

Information Officer III under the Creative and Production Services Division of the Philippine Information Agency. 

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