It's my 300th post, so I want to make this special. And since we've begun a new year, I've come up with a list of travel trends for 2011. I still have a lot to write about from last year, but since work doesn't permit me, I haven't shared as much as I did.
2010 was a landmark year for the Philippines in terms of travel. We increased our tourist base to 3.45M already, around 19% from 2009. Even though we had the hostage crisis and other travel warnings, we still managed to grow. Not surprising, and the government should be happy about it, since Asia will keep growing. What we need is a drastic increase, spurred by an overhaul of promotions and focusing on new travel trends. Here are 3 of my takes:
1. Secluded and Unique Luxury
More and more exclusive and luxurious resorts are opening in Asia. But the most significant ones are those who offer the most secluded locations. Take 4 Rivers Floating Ecolodge in Cambodia for example. It is a floating luxury camp on a river, somewhere in the middle of the forest. Then there's the Banyan Tree Ringha in Shangrila, China, isolated on the snowy slopes of Ziongdian. You also have the yoga retreat resort in Bhutan, Uma Paro. We may consider Amanpulo as isolated as well, being on a private island, in the middle of the Sulu Sea. But I hope we build more isolated luxuries in the mountains, or by the rivers, or even in the middle of forests. As of now, they are all on islands. We have several mountain destinations, even rural landscapes better than Ubud in Bali. Stop thinking beaches, there's more to the PH than perfect sand.
2. Backpacker Trails
We SHOULD convince our government to lure backpackers in the country. Backpackers are essential in any tourism industry. They discover new places, then blog about them. People read about these places, that get more tourists. In the end, more resorts will spring about. And the tourism industry just flourishes. And it all starts with the backpackers. But sad to say that even the best of backpackers end up exploring Palawan, Cebu, Banaue, Malapascua, and the rest of the more popular tourist sites. I think it's about time to promote new exciting destinations such as:
- Samar (including Biri)
- Mindoro (beyond Puerto Galera)
- the Zambales mountains (including Pinatubo)
- Palaui and the Cagayan North region
- Bondoc Peninsula in Quezon
- The islands of Surigao del Norte and del Sur
3. Vacation Rentals
It emerged last year, and now is the time for the Philippines to promote this new type of accommodations. Basically, vacation rentals are houses/apartments/condos rented out per night by locals owners. The most popular ones are the beach houses of course. I was recently addicted to renting beach houses in Batangas and Bataan. I will be featuring the best beach houses soon. Here's a picture of the best I have seen so far: