After more than two years of on-and-off Covid-19 lockdowns, Filipinos in Canada are eager to travel again.
Travel expert Aiko Yao Lim said many kababayans have expressed interest in going back to the Philippines for a visit but many are also doing a double-take once they hear about ticket prices.
"Doon sa mga promo rates na makukuha natin, and low season we can get around a $1,000 to about $1,200 but for the emergent travel and yung mga very peak season, we can see as high as about $3,000," Lim said.
Due to the high demand, Philippine Airlines has brought back their daily flights from Vancouver to Manila starting June 1st.
"The demand is there. As we say it in the travel lingo, the pent-up demand. Because with all the COVID restrictions relaxed or lifted, people now, they want to travel not just to the Philippines but to the rest of the world," PAL Canada Country Manager Allan Coo noted.
Coo added that their lower-priced tickets for December have already sold out as passengers who are using the travel credits started booking as early as February. He also said those who are planning to spend Christmas with their family in the Philippines are looking at tickets priced at C$2,700 but PAL still has cheaper flights for travel next year.
"The current seat sale we have, the Independence seat sale. There are still seats available at that price for 2023 departure. So they can look at that if they're willing to forgo Christmas."
Among the Filipinos eager to go back for Christmas are friends Allen Ledesma and Tricia Jusmillo. They were able to get lower fares with a lay-over but they worry about how much extra money they need to save for the trip.
When asked if they are excited for the trip, Ledesma replied, "hindi po kasi magastos [no because there's a lot of costs]." Jusmillo also said she is worried about her pocket money.
Meanwhile, Coo said Thailand and Vietnam are also popular destinations in Southeast Asia. For other kababayans wanting only short trips, Lim said many are looking at the US, now that PCR testing is no longer required.
In Canada, vaccination requirements have been suspended for domestic travellers on trains or planes effective June 20, but entry requirements for international travellers will remain and the use of the ArriveCAN app will still be required.