Neri: Travel blues...

Nelia G. Neri

THE travel industry is one of the hardest hit in this Covid-19 pandemic. Everyone is wary of the dreaded virus lurking around when boarding planes and going places.

We asked travel frontliners on how they see the future of travel and what their plans are while waiting for the industry to revive.

Angelita Dy of Grand Hope Travel, president of CTTA (Cebu Travel and Tours Association) says, “It’s really a wait-and-see as to what the new normal is in terms of the travelers’ behavior.” In the meantime, she has talked to her employees and explained the situation why she will have to trim down operations. She also thinks that it’s time to venture into another business while waiting for the travel industry to bounce back.

Alice Queblatin of Southwind Travel and president of Catos (Cebu Alliance of Tour Operations Specialists) thinks that “the future of travel and tourism honestly looks dim.” She contends that the reality is, as long as airlines won’t carry leisure travelers, country restrictions are not eased and travel fear remains (pending the discovery of a cure or vaccine), there will be no business to speak of. A positive note is that airlines, hotels and resorts are now putting up protocols for safe reopening guided by international standards of the Department of Health and Department of Tourism. She finds it advisable to concentrate on domestic and regional tourism since these are expected to take off first.

Aida Uy of Cebu Fortune Travel believes that because of globalization, travel will always be a part of everyone’s life. However, nowadays, there is this fear of travel due to the pandemic. She admits that the industry has suffered a set back but is convinced that eventually it will recover because it is essential to all. “At the moment, my plan is to observe the situation and abide by the government rules and regulations.”

Marget Villarica of Destination Specialists declares that “people are dying to get out but most likely on road trips.” The way she looks at it, domestic travel will be more popular in the immediate future. Long haul trips will take sometime to happen. She has been in the travel business for 37 years and will continue to do so inspite of the problems facing the industry. She has long-term plans of developing new and unexplored travel destinations for the time when travel will be a big thing again.

Sheila Colmenares of Leisure Travel is upbeat and very optimistic that somehow people can already travel during the last quarter of 2020. She has been monitoring the resumption of flights of various airlines and says “there’s a glimmer of hope for us, although group tours are still not in the horizon.” She hopes that airport protocols won’t be too strict. In the meantime, she is thinking of cutting office costs by asking staff to work from home. Prayers and a positive attitude are her mantra.