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Insight: Visa Study shows free COVID-19 test and travel protection top incentives for international travel

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — As the pandemic situation evolves, Filipinos are keen to start travelling again with free COVID-19 tests (57%), hospital care (51%), and flexibility in changing travel plans (37%) as the key considerations driving travel decisions, according to Visa’s 2021 Global Travel Intentions Study [1]. Earning rewards or enjoying last-minute offers are now secondary benefits behind measures that provide protection and reassurance.

As more overseas destinations ease travel restrictions, Filipinos are expected to visit neighboring countries for leisure with COVID-19 protection and incentives on top of their minds.

Dan Wolbert, Visa Country Manager for the Philippines and Guam said: “These findings reflect the changing outlook Filipinos have on traveling as the COVID-19 situation evolves. 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 study also found that 56 percent 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.

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. Meanwhile, 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 percent 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,” added Mr. Wolbert.


[1] A quarterly digital intelligence study of 49 global markets, covering outbound and inbound travel with topics ranging from destinations, consumer travel needs, to travel attitudes and risk appetites.

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