Boracay and Baguio City. Classic “monte y mar” experience of a lifetime

What tourists find out when they get there is that actual Boracay is a postcard come alive.

WASHINGTON DC, October 8, 2020 – A 50-year old Filipino-American travel agency based here struggles to keep its business going despite reversals brought about by the Covid pandemic.

From the US East Coast its best roundtrip ticket offering to Manila $760 with Delta Airlines.

Yesterday, Travelwise featured an open Facebook live chat with Tourism Attache Francisco Larrazabal with Mariel Kabin, moderating. Kabin is a business coach, travel industry executive and social media strategist.

Two latest developments highlighted the on-line discussion.

The first news was Associated Press report that two of the most popular Philippine tourist destinations.

The tourism department that 35 local tourists, including seven from Manila, came on the first day of the reopening of Boracay, a central island famous for its powdery white sands, azure waters and stunning sunsets.

Only local tourists from regions with low-level quarantine designations could go, subject to safeguards, including tests showing a visitor is coronavirus-free.

Baguio City’s heritage pine trees, like a green carpet sprawled  on its mountain slopes almost 5,000 feet above sea level.

The other site that reopened was the mountain city of Baguio, regarded as a summer hideaway for its pine trees, cool breeze and picturesque upland views, but only to tourists only from its northern region.

The department said that despite the urgent need to revive the tourism industry, it’s being done slowly and cautiously as mayors and governors would have to approve the reopening of tourism spots.

Like in most countries, the pandemic has devastated the tourism industry in the Philippines which has the highest coronavirus caseload in Southeast Asia, with more than 300,000 confirmed cases and over 5,000 deaths.

Retrenchment at Philippine Airlines

Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines will cut about one-third of its workforce by the end of this year as part of an overhaul triggered by crippling coronavirus travel restrictions.  

The airline said it was running less than 15% of its normal daily flights after eight months of restrictions

The pandemic has devastated the global aviation industry, forcing airlines to seek government bailouts, furlough workers and slash jobs.

The collapse in travel demand and persistent travel restrictions on most global and domestic routes have made retrenchment inevitable, the airline told Agence France-Presse, announcing the loss of up to 35% of its more than 7,000 employees through voluntary resignations and forced layoffs.

Commercial flights were grounded for more than two months during the country’s lockdown, which sent the economy into recession and left millions out of work. 

PAL Holdings, the listed parent of the airline, sank deeper into the red in the first half with a net loss of 20.75 billion pesos (US$428.6 million). That compared with a 2.98 billion peso net loss in the same period last year.

The announcement comes as the Philippines takes tentative steps to revive its battered tourism industry by allowing domestic travelers to visit Boracay island, famed for its white sand beaches.

Strict protocols, however, must be observed requiring tourists to test negative for Covid-19 before they can travel to the popular holiday destination.

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