On March 16, 2020, Malacañang officially ordered Luzon to be under "enhanced" community quarantine. By now, restrictions have loosened up, which meant that several of us have most likely taken a quick trip to see some sun, breathe in some fresh air, and feel the sand between our toes. Routine travelers were for sure feeling cabin fever, and experts have dubbed the phenomenon "revenge travel."
Revenge travel is exactly what it states: Traveling with a vengeance. If you were a frequent flyer, you'd have spent the past couple of years without any of your usual airport-hopping, the thrill of scoring discounted plane fares, the comfort of going back to your home away from home, a.k.a. hotel room, at the end of a long day of exploring. Suddenly, the world's wanderers were forced to stay home 24-7, and for someone who's always itching to travel, that would be akin to living in a nightmare.
It's not so surprising that as travel restrictions were slowly lifted, people are making the most out of every weekend getaway. We're already seeing this in the traffic jams going up to Tagaytay, the surge of tourists in Baguio and Boracay, and the reopening of Airbnbs near Metro Manila. Island resorts, which bear the promise of privacy, are seeing more guests. People had months of travel savings to splurge, after all.
This is not entirely a new thing. Revenge travel is just a spinoff of revenge spending, which emerged in China in the 1980s following the economic slump of the Cultural Revolution. People were eager to buy things; when they finally got to do so again, inventory flew off the shelves. With the ongoing pandemic, people are feeling a hunger for travel, and while it sounds counterintuitive, our tourism economy needs to bounce back and the only way to do that is by having people get on a plane and go out there.
"Una kong na-feel when I landed in El Nido, para akong bulkang sumabog. You have so much energy pent up. I've been sad and anxious. It felt like all the weight of the world has been lifted when I finally took off my mask, stared at the sunset, and inhaled fresh air. I have never been happier," said Pearl Perlada in an exchange with SPOT.ph. She has since traveled to El Nido Resorts and Huni Lio, which have both implemented travel bubbles to make sure that guests are safe while finally enjoying the great outdoors.
"I think travel will be very different after the pandemic. People will appreciate and look at things in a different way. They will be more appreciative, renewed 'yong wonder and awe," she adds.
Destinations near the Metro are also getting a lot of attention, with less restrictive travel requirements. The airline industry, which has taken a hit because of the pandemic, is slowly getting back on its feet.
Revenge travel may sound like people are just overindulging, especially since the pandemic is still very much a global concern. But it does have its merits.
"Traveling helps you mentally; and at the same time, helps you fuel an entire industry to make our economy bounce back. So no, I don't feel guilty when I travel because I do it with intent," Perlada says.
And while traveling is possible again, that also doesn't mean that we should let our guards down. We shouldn't forget that the virus is still out there. In the meantime, be vigilant in wearing face masks, get yourselves tested, and find opportunities for safe travels.
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