Oz to RP travel bucks the trend By Jaime K. Pimentel

TRAVEL traffic between Australia and the Philippines continued to buck the trend this year in the face of the current global recession.

In an exclusive interview, the Philippines’ tourism attache in Sydney, Consuelo ‘Lito’ Jones, told Radio Sandigan that despite a worldwide decline of 8 per cent, traffic between Australia and the Philippines had increased by 5 per cent. ”I am happy to say that we’re doing pretty well,” Ms Jones said.

”Domestic travel overall (within the Philippines) was up 13 per cent, with destinations in, for example, Camarines Sur (in southern Luzon) posting an increase in visits of 194 per cent compared to last year.”

Worst affected destinations were Europe, which saw a 10 per cent decline in traffic, followed by the United States with 6 per cent. Australia and the Pacific suffered a decline of 4 per cent, Ms Jones said.

There were destinations, however, that had actually seen improvement in traffic movement. ”France, the most popular destination, was up 1 per cent,” she said. ”It was the same with South America and Maldives. But the majority of destinations around the globe had negative figures.”

Ms Jones attributed the spiral in travel traffic everywhere to a diminishing number of passengers in air travel. ”The financial crisis has had people opting for other means of travel for safety and economic reasons,” she said. ”Further, many businesses have chosen Internet conferencing over sending executives interstate or overseas. Things like that.

”As a result, airlines have cut their number of destinations to concentrate on more profitable ones. All that, in turn, has had a negative impact on hotels and many other businesses in the travel industry.”

But in light of continuing interest in tourist travel between Australia and the Philippines ~ and cuts in spending ~ Philippine tourism is bumping up its aggressive promotion. ”You will see and hear more on the Philippines in the Australian media next year,” Ms Jones said. ”The travel market around the world will rebound, and I believe the immediate future of travel and tourism is looking good.”

The Philippines is clearly preparing for it. ”Already, there have been more hotels built comprising 1,230 more rooms,” Ms Jones said.

Updated: 12/11/2009 — 17:43:43