Surge in creative travel packages seen as more destinations reopen

WITH the reopening of the country’s borders, tourism stakeholders will need to come up with unique and exciting travel packages and itineraries to offer to foreign tourists.Alfred Reyes, president of the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC), said tourism players will face tougher competition as global borders have started to reopen.“The industry players will not only be competing among themselves. We will be competing with our neighboring countries,” said Reyes, noting that hotel rates, for instance, will be more competitive.“The pricing will be competitive because you are not only competing with the Cebu market or Cebu hotels. You are competing also with other destinations. So there are packages that are creative at lower prices,” said Reyes.Australia, Bali (Indonesia), Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, among others, have already relaxed their travel requirements to foreign guests. They are now accepting vaccinated travelers, ending the almost two years of locked border policies.The Department of Tourism (DOT) saw an increase in tourist arrivals in the first 10 days since the Feb. 10 reopening.Data from One Health Pass showed a total of 21,974 inbound tourist arrivals in different airports across the country.These are composed of 10,074 balikbayans and 11,900 foreign tourists who arrived from Feb. 10 to 19.“The recent influx of tourists reflects foreign tourists’ enthusiasm towards visiting our country, which in turn will accelerate the revival of our tourism industry,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat said.“We at the DOT continue to be optimistic that this trend will be sustained and will support not only the tourism industry but also the recovery and growth of our economy,” she added.Tourists from the United States made up the largest chunk of foreign tourists during the 10-day period with 5,516 arrivals.This was followed by 1,366 arrivals from Canada, 918 from the United Kingdom, 891 from Australia, 859 from South Korea, 572 from Vietnam, 459 from Japan and 447 from Germany.Puyat also disclosed that the Covid-19 vaccine certificates of Egypt, Maldives, Palau, Albania, Estonia, Greece, Malta and Uruguay shall also be accepted as proofs of vaccination required upon entry to the Philippines.The eight countries were in addition to the previously approved 12 countries based on Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Resolution 162.