File photo by CARF

Families will have a major impact on the future of the travel industry as priorities dramatically shift to reconnecting with relatives during the pandemic.
“Pre-pandemic, travel was built around business. It made up just 12 percent of air travel but 75 percent of airline profits. Post-pandemic, families are the most dynamic force in travel,” a May 2021 report by Airbnb revealed.
Out of the 10,000 respondents Airbnb asked across five countries, 42 percent identified themselves as “family-focused voyagers”.
The booking platform said families are also leading the way in redistributing travel “to everywhere” and in using rental homes for longer stays.
In Airbnb alone, family travel accounts for an increasing share of overall nights, growing globally from 27 percent of nights booked in summer 2019 to 33 percent in summer 2021.
Family travel to rural destinations also went up from 32 percent of family nights in 2019 to 42 percent booked for summer 2021 in Airbnb listings.
Beach towns and theme parks, meanwhile, replaced cities as top family summertime destinations.
“(A)t a time when destinations are debating how they want travel to return, locals see families as the best type of tourists. Business travelers are rated lowest,” it added. 
Based on its survey, locals in Manila and Cebu rank families as the best tourists for their communities.
In a recent media roundtable, Airbnb co-founder and chief strategy officer Nate Blecharczyk said Filipinos are also turning to Airbnb for affordable and family-friendly domestic travel.
“Family travel is the number one reason for domestic travel among Filipinos. Based on our survey among (Philippine) Airbnb guests and hosts, 62 percent of guests stay(ed) in Airbnb listings with their family in 2020,” he said.
The travel industry remains one of the hardest-hit sectors as the pandemic halted flights and compelled governments to impose restrictions. 
With more people getting vaccinated, Blecharczyk is optimistic the tourism industry will eventually recover.
“There’s light now at the end of the tunnel. Vaccinations are rolling out, restrictions are loosening, and so we expect all of travel to rebound and we expect that pattern to be true in the Philippines as well,” he said. (PNA)