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Visa study shows free COVID-19 test top incentive for int’l travel

According to Visa’s 2021 Global Travel Intentions Study, free COVID-19 tests (57%), hospital care (51%), and flexibility in changing travel plans (37%) are key drivers for Filipinos’ traveling decisions as countries start opening up to visitors.

Earning rewards or enjoying last-minute offers are now secondary benefits behind measures that provide protection and reassurance.

“These findings reflect the changing outlook Filipinos have on traveling as the COVID-19 situation evolves,” said Dan Wolbert, Visa country manager for the Philippines and Guam. “We have seen a rebound to travel in many parts of the world as borders open, and Filipinos are optimistic about traveling again. Similar to other markets, Filipino travelers are conscious about following safety protocols and also want to feel that they have sufficient access to health protection in the event that risks happen to them while they are abroad.”

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The study found that Filipinos want travel insurance that protects them from COVID-19-related risks including the cost of medication and treatment (59%), quarantine charges (52%), and hospitalization room charges (41%).

The Visa study also found that 56% of Filipino travelers are keen on vacationing in another country as part of a travel bubble setup. With travel bubbles, there are fewer chances of contact with individuals who may have come from areas with high infection rates.

Cashless payments

The top five international destinations that Filipinos want to visit once it is safe to do so are the United States, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, and Thailand. Hawaii and South Korea are also generating interest, followed by Australia and Dubai.

The post-pandemic travel landscape will also involve an increased preference for cashless payments, with 63% of Filipino travelers expecting to go cashless because of the safety and comfort it brings. Among their top preferences include mobile payments (34%), as well as credit (24%), and debit card (31%) payments.

“As we see the number of COVID-19 cases trending downwards in the Philippines and the government’s decision to start opening our borders, we share the optimism of Filipinos that the road to recovery is beginning,” Wolbert said.