Picture this: Fine white sand, pristine seawater, clear blue skies, and you sipping your favorite summer drink while watching the famed Boracay sunset from the comfort and safety of a crowdless beach front. It’s not very common to get the island’s best view all to yourself. In fact, there has never been a time that this was at all possible throughout Boracay’s active existence as the country’s most-visited beach destination and, at one point, the busiest party island in the region.
As community quarantine extends to over a year now, the growing restlessness of people staying at home or localized in a city—especially for residents of Metro Manila and nearby provinces—have further resulted in lockdown fatigue for many. So when the Department of Tourism (DOT) finally allowed leisure travel late last year, together with the easing of mobility restrictions, many travelers rejoiced in delight but still fostered uncertainty about traveling in the time of a pandemic.
Echoing the pulse of the Filipino traveler today, AirSwift fully committed itself to safe traveling in the new normal as it launched its inaugural Manila to Boracay (Caticlan) direct flights last March 2021. The experienced boutique airline company welcomed guests to the island paradise while upholding continued excellence in “observing only the highest standards of quality, safety and security in aviation services.”
“It sends a very strong signal that in order for the tourism industry to be back to its pre-COVID levels or status, we need to establish more connections to the top tourist destinations of the Philippines. We already did that for El Nido, Palawan when we connected the island to the different hubs, but now everything has changed,” Fely Anne P. Salvador, vice president for Commercial, Airport Services, and Aerodromes of AirSwift, shares exclusively to Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “The only way to do that is to connect the metro to El Nido, Boracay, and other top destinations that are willing to accept travelers who are itching to go out because of the lockdowns.”
To bring back the confidence of travelers, AirSwift adheres to a new normal passenger journey, assuring utmost safety for all. There are several pre-departure requirements including the accomplishment of Boracay Tourism’s online health declaration form, and submissions of negative RT-PCR test result within 72 hours before flight, hotel booking from a DOT-accredited resort, valid ID, and, of course, a confirmed AirSwift e-ticket. When all of these have been successfully met and validated, Boracay Tourism will email a QR code reflecting all pertinent information for your entry to the island.
Airport health protocols before boarding also ensures passenger safety. AirSwift provides a health kit containing disposable surgical masks and alcohol pads with 70 percent solution. Aside from this, wearing a face shield is mandatory, but if you fail to bring one, the AirSwift team will provide it upon request.
As you finally enter the aircraft, you’ll notice seats mounted with individual acrylic barriers to minimize droplet transmission as one of the preventive measures of the airline. “Our flight crew is RT- PCR tested every flight just like our passengers. The ground and airport crew are regularly tested through antigen/RDT/RT-PCR depending on the circumstances,” Fely states. “The health and wellness of our personnel are important because we cannot continuously perform our duties to our passengers if our own employees are not protected.”
As AirSwift pioneers a new safe way of traveling to destinations such as Boracay and Palawan, a campaign to move forward as one with the industry is essential. “In order to do all of these, it has to be a collective effort of the airline, local government unit, airports, and resorts in the destination,” says Fely. “Unlike before when we had our own prerogative of attracting and building our own market, the approach has to be inclusive. In order for us to be successful in all facets, we need everybody’s cooperation.”
With this, the airline partners with local businesses “to help people get reacquainted with this island paradise while also supporting local businesses in this trying time.” Resort partners include Seawind Resort Boracay, Le Soleil, Discovery Shores, Feliz Hotel, Henann Crystal Sands, Henann Palm Beach, Belmont Hotel Boracay, Paradise Garden, Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa, Movenpick Hotels and Resorts, Tides Boracay, Bamboo Beach Resort, and Savoy Hotel. AirSwift also highlights Lemon Cafe, Epic Boracay, Bamboo Travel and Tours, and Southwest Tours as partners during the inaugural flight.
When asked how AirSwift chooses to navigate the new normal in tourism, Fely shares “We are here, and we will still be here regardless of any crisis or any pandemic. Our mission is to connect people to the top spots of the Philippines. That mission stays. Even if there are barriers and challenges, we will be working very hard to bring back the confidence of the travelers. It’s going to be a long, long way, but of course we have to try and start now.”
Just like visiting any place in the time of a pandemic, it’s best to plan ahead and be fully equipped with travel advisories and protocols, especially from destinations in stricter community quarantines. When you visit Boracay in the coming months, fly with friends and book your next tranquil summer with AirSwift.
As of April 12, 2021, AirSwift continues to suspend all flights from Manila to Boracay, El Nido, and Coron (and vice versa) until April 30, 2021, in compliance with the national government directives on the implementation of Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine in Metro Manila. For more information, visit www.air-swift.com or contact AirSwift through the following mobile numbers: +63917 859 2816, +63917 859 2760, +63917 806 5745, +63917 816 8763 or email at [email protected]