THE Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) said it expects bookings to grow 20-25% this year, citing pent-up demand from the pandemic.
“I would say initially… around 20% to 25% and growing further because the interest in travel is growing,” PTAA Chairperson Patria T. Chiong said at a briefing on Thursday.
Ms. Chiong also said international visitor numbers are projected at 7.7 million this year, which would exceed the 5.45 million actual arrivals in 2023.
“The enthusiasm for travel and to see different places once again is making for a buoyant travel industry, and we at PTAA are very much ready to cater to the demand,” PTAA President Evangeline Tankiang-Manotok said.
In 2019, the last full year before the pandemic, the Philippines admitted 8.26 million international visitors, according to the Department of Tourism.
Asked whether the lower fuel surcharge will affect travel demand, Ann Marie Kho, sales manager at AirSWIFT Transport, Inc., said the surcharge adjustment’s impact may not be immediate.
In an advisory on Wednesday, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said the fuel surcharge for Feb. 1-28 will be lowered to Level 6, after the average price of jet fuel stood at P38.92 per liter between Dec. 10 and Jan. 9.
“The CAB determines when we’re supposed to apply the adjustment… if there is a continuous decrease in fuel prices (it will) definitely impact prices,” Ms. Kho said.
The PTAA is set to conduct the 31st Travel Tour Expo and 9th International Travel Trade Expo 2024 between Feb. 2 and 4 at the SMX Convention Center Manila in Pasay City.
The association said that the trade fair will feature travel deals, discounts, and destination packages for a wide range of budgets and travel preferences.
“We are pooling together our expertise under one roof to provide Filipino travelers the best advice and make them realize that there are many options for them,” Ms. Tankiang-Manotok said. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera