Airline banks on PH festivals to grow domestic travel, spur tourism activities

Business.(Business File photo)

LOW-COST carrier AirAsia Philippines sees a strong travel demand this year as tourists continue to visit the country, especially during festivals.

The airline said it had already flown 520,000 guests for the first half of January this year.

“Festivities are known to captivate local and international travelers to visit different localities in the country,” the airline said.

Three big festivals in the country are celebrated in January—Sinulog, Ati-Atihan and Dinagyang.

In January 2023, AirAsia Philippines flew a total of 580,000 guests to top destinations such as Cebu, Bohol and Kalibo.

“AirAsia Philippines would like to open 2024 in a positive and festive mood. The Philippines, composed of 82 provinces, offers an array of festivals, which are worth exploring. At AirAsia we know that this is more than just the usual get-together — it’s a celebration of culture,” said AirAsia Philippines spokesperson and first officer Steve Dailisan.

Moreover, AirAsia Philippines said it is looking to fly more foreign guests from other Asean countries, especially with the scheduled merger of AirAsia X and AirAsia Philippines (and other AirAsia areas of operation).

Seen to materialize in the months to come, the airline said this move is expected to consolidate all medium and long-haul flights which could create more opportunities for foreign travelers to explore the country as it will connect the Philippines with neighboring destinations.

Long weekends

Besides the festivals, the Department of Tourism sees the series of extended weekends throughout 2024 to work in the country’s favor, particularly in boosting domestic tourism activities.

“We see these upcoming extended weekends as a timely opportunity, specifically advantageous in propelling our domestic tourism forward,” said Tourism Chief Christina Frasco.

In 2001, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo adopted its version of long weekends, termed “holiday economics,” in order to boost domestic tourism. This was continued by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. when he assumed president in 2022.

In 2022, the Philippine Statistics Authority noted a huge 102 million local trips, adding a notable P1.5 trillion to spending on domestic tourism.

Among the overall P1.87 trillion in internal tourism expenditure, inclusive of spending by foreign visitors and Filipinos residing abroad, a substantial P1.5 trillion was directly attributed to domestic tourism spending. This economic contribution stemmed from expenses by local visitors, encompassing both domestic trips and components of international travel occurring within the country’s borders.


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