Nothing Stops the Drive to Drive, Says Department of Tourism and Nissan Philippines

Automologist HAROLD discovers that Filipinos still want to travel, but by land. 

Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, half of the respondents in the survey conducted by the Philippine’s Department of Tourism (DOT), months after the government imposed the community quarantine, said that they still want to travel to various tourist spots and provinces, but the preferred mode of transportation is on land.

The survey called “Philippines Travel Survey: Insights of Filipino Travel Behavior Post COVID-19” revealed that 77 percent of the 12,000 respondents are willing to still travel and visit local destinations once the strict, often unreasonable, restrictions are lifted. Requiring negative COVID-19 antibody or swab test results before allowing a guest to check in any hotel or resort is a bit of a COVID-paranoia. If this rule is not lifted, we will see the demise of the tourism industry in a few months from now.

Results showed that 69% are considering beaches, 54% prefer to travel by land and 41% want to have staycations. The survey was a joint project of the DOT, the Asian Institute of Management’s Sr. Andrew L. Tan Center of Tourism, and Guide to the Philippines.

It concludes that, truly, domestic leisure travel is the main driver for the recovery of the country’s tourism industry. And the lockdowns and unreasonable quarantine rules are the main constraints in this road to recovery.

Photo source: Philadelphia Inquirer

The DOT also provided advice for the ”Safe Trip Campaign”, which advocates for road trips using private vehicles, the safest way for domestic travel under this new normal.

Together with Nissan Philippines, the campaign aims to develop educational and promotional content for social media and generate publicity on the “hows” of responsible and safe traveling to local tourist destinations. It involves the dissemination of recommendations, advice, and practical and reasonable tips for safe land travel during times like this, safety protocols and social distancing guides at the destinations, and updates on attractions that have reopened.

“The DOT is committed to reviving the country’s tourism industry from the harsh impacts of the pandemic. We thank Nissan Philippines for being a partner in tourism recovery by promoting health and safety protocols for road trips. It is a timely effort as we have reopened Baguio City and Ilocos Norte to Luzon residents, both of which can be accessed by land travel,” said DOT Secretary, Berna Romulo-Puyat.

“We hope that this campaign will encourage all Filipinos to practice safe and responsible travel as they return to local tourist spots and enjoy the beauty of our country,” she added.

“Nissan’s vision is to enrich people’s lives by making their journeys safe, smart, and fun. We want to promote safe and responsible travels with our innovative and dependable vehicles, so that our customers can enjoy adventures with family and friends. Tourism has become a passion for Nissan in the Philippines over the years, which is why we are truly excited to partner with DOT to promote the tourism sector towards its recovery,” Nissan Philippines’ President, Najima San, said.

In a statement, DOT also revealed that they recommended that establishments and organizations must emphasize addressing their customers’ concerns and that they should cooperate with the local government in finding ways to innovate and adapt to the new normal.

As we navigate this pandemic nightmare, we learn to be more innovative and adaptable in ways we didn’t imagine before and social media has truly been a great help. We gather and disseminate information as fast as a bullet. I believe that this campaign will be a major strategic step for both the tourism and automotive industries to simultaneously stimulate the “resurrection” of both industries.

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