Travel again, because…

Published October 16, 2021, 8:00 AM

by Jules Vivas

Efforts in domestic tourism are being strengthened. All that’s left is your support

Travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.

We live in troubled times, but that’s all the more reason for us to find or make our own happiness. Being “out there,” visiting places we’ve only ever read about in books or may have seen on television or online, is essential to relieving ourselves of the stresses that weigh us down today.

It is in our DNA, to move, explore, and venture into the unknown. As beings whose very nature is to learn and feel, we were born to experience life in as many corners as we can see in this big, big world.

GO DEEP A diver taking a photo of a sea turtle (pawikan), diving being one of the famous activities in the Philippines

So, despite the pandemic, giving in to our wanderlust should not be an issue. While travel isn’t as simple as it was before the coronavirus, this shouldn’t stop us from going out, unless we are a person with comorbidity, a minor, a senior citizen, or unvaccinated. Otherwise, not only are we free to travel but are encouraged to do so, of course, strictly adhering to safety and health protocols.

Travel is not only a means to help ourselves, but is also a way to support our fellowmen. Tourism is one of the biggest industries that create a livelihood for people. It is one of the world’s major economic sectors, accounting for seven percent of global trade. Locally, tourism is among the economic development tools that the Philippines need most to survive and thrive.

The Philippine tourism circle, from the Department of Tourism (DOT) to other travel-related organizations, is among the most active sectors in finding solutions to the COVID-19 outbreak.

For instance, the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association International Inc. (HSMA), a premier travel organization, recently concluded its September Online Sale (SOS) that offered the best deals for travelers to enjoy more affordable vacations.

Flying is made more safe and affordable

IT’S TIME EVERY JUAN FLIES CEB cabincrew in PPE

Among the major homegrown airlines in the country, Cebu Pacific (CEB) has been dishing out promotions left and right amid the health emergency.

This month, the leading local airline expanded its flights to Siargao to six times weekly, to Boracay five times daily, and Bohol to 10 times weekly.

“We believe reopening domestic travel and the promotion of responsible travel is critical to rebuilding the trust and travel confidence in the industry,” says Candice Iyog, vice president for marketing and customer experience at CEB. “We also know that the situation continues to be fluid, which is why we make it a priority to always make travel convenient for everyJuan, on top of providing the much-needed flexibility during this time.”

Furthermore, CEB has permanently removed its rebooking fees since March this year in consideration of the ever-changing quarantine status of the country. And you know you are in good hands considering it has been given a perfect rating of seven stars by airlineratings.com for its COVID-19 protocols following global aviation standards.

CLEAN AS CAN BE CEB aircraft undergoing routine disinfection

To make transactions more convenient the new Cebu Pacific Gold and Platinum Credit Cards were launched. This is in collaboration with Go Rewards, UnionBank of the Philippines, and Visa. The card allows customers to earn a point for every 100 spent on CEB, and for every ₱200 spent elsewhere. Cardholders also get early alerts for CEB promo fares, and other Go Rewards, UnionBank, as well as Visa exclusive offers. They also have a current seat sale, which runs until Oct. 31 for trips until 2022. You can book a one-way flight for the base fare of ₱99.

You can travel online

If you are skeptical about leaving the comfort and safety of your home, you can choose instead to watch HSMA’s “Go Safe, Go Travel: Walk and Talk With Us (GPSTV).” This passion project is in partnership with DOT, Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), and Isentia.

The collaborative effort is aimed toward reigniting the travel yearnings of millions of Filipinos, reminding everyone of the beauty of the Philippines through a pioneering television broadcast viewable via the GPSTV official Facebook and YouTube accounts or through a CNN TV special later in November this year.

“Before traveling to a new destination, I like to watch travel shows that will inspire me and my family or my friends about our upcoming trip. It’s a great way for all of us to plan on what destinations to check out, what restaurants to eat in, the shops we want to visit, and activities we want to enjoy while never losing sight of the all-important fact of staying safe and healthy,” explains Benjamin Martinez, HSMA president. “Think of it as an appetizer of future travels to come.”

The Philippine tourism circle, from the Department of Tourism (DOT) to other travel-related organizations, is among the most active sectors in finding solutions to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Kevin Lapeña hosts the show, which puts together a list of excellent destinations that will have armchair explorers go on gastronomic and cultural adventures, staycations, bakasyon grandes. Covered are The Peninsula Manila’s iconic lobby as well as its sought-after halo-halo, Hotel Lucky Chinatown’s dim sum and pancit specialties, The Bayleaf Intramuros’ Sky Deck and its incomparable views of the Manila Bay sunset, Diamond Hotel and its magnificent ensaymada, Sofitel Philippine Plaza’s table-groaning buffets at Spirals, Marriott Clark Hotel’s rooms that celebrate Pampanga’s unique heritage, the unique Ilocos getaway in Vitalis Villas, a relaxing Acuaverde Beach Resort staycation in Batangas, and the stunning complex of the Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort.  Or while relishing Cebu’s many delights, viewers can take virtual strolls on Crimson Resort & Spa Boracay and Discovery Shores Boracay’s famous white sand beaches. There are many more on the menu, such as The Bellevue Bohol’s pristine waters and, immersed in the rich culture of Mindanao, Dusit D2 Davao.

“Someday soon, we hope to see all of us exploring our country once more and checking into city hotels, island resorts, mountain lodges, and seaside hideaways, and experiencing our famous brand of Filipino warmth and hospitality,” says Loleth So, HSMA vice president. “And we hope to watch GPSTV will have something to do with it, that it will encourage our viewers to pack up their bags and just go!”

Other than unique content and excellent travel tips, HSMA GPSTV “Go Safe, Go Travel: Walk and Talk With Us” will also be sharing the latest travel protocols with its viewers as well as first dibs on special offers from HSMA-member hotels and resorts.

 
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