HRRAC: Tourism rebound in 2023 will result in intense competition

·3 min read

SURGE in travel and tourism is set to comeback in 2023.

But while waiting for that to happen, destinations and tourism players must prepare new marketing strategies to lure the international market because as soon the market fully recovers, the industry will face fiercer competition.

“Everyone should be prepared for the influx (of tourists) because people will be excited to travel,” said Alfred Reyes, president of Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) in an interview Friday, March 19, 2021. “The volume will be there by that time.”

Reyes predicts that by 2023, the travel and tourism market will be bombarded with a lot of marketing promotions, affordable packages and fare rates as tourism destinations around the globe compete with one another in getting the biggest volume of tourists.

Reyes, who is also the general manager of Bai Hotel, said travel by that time will be easy on the pocket because the market will still have to decide whether to spend the money for leisure or for savings.

“Remember that in this pandemic many lost jobs. So to lure them back, the industry has to offer attractive packages,” he said.

Currently, HRRAC members are coming up with their own marketing initiatives to spur domestic tourism. The group recently launched “I Love Cebu” campaign, a month-long online travel sale from March 21 to April 30 to invite people from neighboring provinces to re-explore Cebu.

“Everyone is doing what they can to spur domestic tourism,” said Reyes, noting that resorts and city hotels are enjoying a good occupancy during weekends but low during weekdays.

The Covid-19 pandemic has turned the tourism and travel industry upside down. Since the halt in global travel in 2020, hotels and other tourism establishments suffered in pain with many forced to temporarily close operations and lay off workers.

Due to border closure, the Philippines, in particular only welcomed 1.3 million foreign tourists in 2020, down around 8.2 million arrivals in 2019.

The total amount of receipts generated from inbound tourism, or the expenditure of foreign visitors, consequently plunged by 83.12 percent — from an estimated P482.16 billion in 2019 to P81.4 billion in 2020.

Vaccine passport

But the tourism’s fate could change in the coming months with the vaccine rollout around the globe. Reyes said the Covid-19 vaccine will play a bigger role in the recovery of travel and tourism.

He said the vaccine will now become a marketing tool to boost trust and confidence of the market.

Meanwhile, many economies around the globe are now in talks about vaccine passport as the future for international travel.

According to a report from AP, airlines and others in the travel industry are throwing their support behind so-called vaccine passports to boost pandemic-depressed travel.

A vaccine passport is a documentation that shows a traveler has been vaccinated against Covid-19 or recently tested negative for the virus that causes it.

The information is stored in a phone or other mobile device that the user shows to airline employees and border officers. US-Biden’s administration and others want a paper version available too.

Technology companies and travel-related trade groups are said to be developing and testing various versions of the vaccine passports. (KOC)