The recovery of Philippines’ inbound and outbound travel is slowing down due to high airfares, a weakening peso, and a logjam in embassies’ processing of visa applications and renewal.
Arjun Shroff, managing director of Shroff International Travel Care, said travellers prefer domestic travel over international travel due to the high costs of airfares, “which has risen by more than 60-80 per cent in some cases”.
Asiareps Travel Services general manager, Ritchie Tuano, agreed that airlines’ high fuel cost “significantly contributes” to the travel slowdown.
He added that the surge of revenge travellers did not cause air travel demand to spike, even though most airlines were not 100 per cent operational.
This, coupled with the longer processing time of visa applications at embassies – which itself is trying to cope with the surge in demand and staffing issues – are all contributing to the slow down, noted Shroff.
Tuano said: “Embassies should be adding more staff, even though temporarily, to hasten the visa processing time.”
Moreover, the weakening of the Philippine peso reached an all-time high this week, and has also made it costlier for longhaul travel. That is why Filipinos are choosing to fly regionally to South-east Asian countries, or other countries that are visa-free, agents observed.