The concept of Staycation is not new. In fact, the word was coined back in 2005. It was the USA that first made it popular though, after the 2008 mortgage fiasco that sparked a massive financial crisis in the few years following.
Taking America’s lead, the Philippines easily caught on to the staycation idea. The Philippine staycation trend has been growing steadily thanks to a few factors. And the factors are not necessarily related to economics, either.
Whether it’s domestic or international, air travel can’t be afforded by every Juan. The greater majority of the Philippine population is made up of middle-income wage earners or small business owners. The average Filipino family size is about 5-6 which may include extended members like in-laws, cousins, and house helps. And Filipinos love to travel together, so travel to remote provinces let alone foreign lands would certainly be out of reach for most large households. And expenses do not end there. Hotel accommodations and food expenses during the trip can certainly rip a hole in one’s pocket. Even for a 3-day out of town trip (air fare, hotel, other expenses) would already set one back by at least Php20,000. On the other hand, staycation does not require air fare, and that alone can cut total travel expenses by at least a third!
Traveling to an unfamiliar place, especially one where English is not commonly spoken, can be quite risky. Young parents will especially think twice before considering long distance travel with their kids. Unlike adults, kids are less tolerant of crowded terminals, uncomfortable airline seats, and long hours of waiting. And tourists can be easy targets for criminals.
Weather and Traffic
An outbound flight can easily be cancelled or deferred due to inclement weather or horrendous traffic, phenomena that are not uncommon in the Philippines. Even inter-island trips can easily be marred by typhoons. On the other hand, who cares about heavy rains when you are relaxing in a luxurious local hotel or right in the comfort of your own bedroom?
Manila and other cities are not short of bargain hotel packages, buffet specials, sales events, exciting landmarks, and other attractions that beckon their locals to stay in town and smell the roses. For people in Metro Manila, the Mall of Asia is definitely a much closer place to go ziplining than Subic. To enjoy cool air, they can go to Tagaytay which is just about two hours of driving, instead of having to go to Baguio or Sagada. Many hotels and other establishments have come to realize the potential of staycation by offering special discounts and irresistible deals for staycationers.
//Photo flickr.com Andrea Benjamin Manenti