Domestic travel appetite is not even there even for destinations closer to the National Capital Region.
In Baguio, around four-hour drive from Metro Manila, 14,855 local tourists visited last month, down 23% from December. In Bohol, local visitors reached only 1,066 from February 1 to 19, two months since it started accepting tourists again.
In El Nido in Palawan, back to business since October, things were likewise not improving. Hotels are seeing occupancy rates of 20 to 30%, no different from last year when lockdowns were more stringent.
With foreign borders still heavily regulated, the Philippines is banking on domestic tourism to counter last year’s drastic fall in foreign tourism revenues to just 82 billion pesos. But while the weather may be on its side, its previously ardent beach lovers are just not about to go out.
Sadly, these low tourist numbers are expected to continue to disadvantage tourism-related businesses.