Oliver 26 0 0 4 min to read

More “balikbayans” are returning to Cebu for Christmas this year.

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This holiday season, more “balikbayans,” or Filipino tourists, are returning to Cebu from the US, with passenger traffic almost reaching pre-pandemic levels, according to a US-based travel consolidator.

According to research on booking patterns for the winter holidays, Peter Vazan, chief executive officer of Trevolution Group, the number of reservations for travel between the United States and Cebu in December 2022 and January 2023 has already surpassed 70% of those made during the same period in 2019-2020.

According to Vazan, the winter holiday season is always the busiest period for visiting friends and family.

Even if more travelers may book their flights just weeks before the holidays, he claimed that the 2019 traffic levels will not be reached due to the shifting booking habits.

“The Philippines tourism season typically peaks in the first quarter of the year, and the present outlook for the following months is positive. During the first three months of the year, every third ticket from the United States to the Philippines is reserved, he continued.

Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Seattle are the top US airports from which travelers have reserved flights to Cebu for the winter holiday season.

In a previous interview with reporters, Julius Neri Jr., general manager, and chief executive officer of Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA), stated that the airport anticipates that by the end of 2022, the number of flights will increase by 40 percent of the pre-pandemic level, up from 28 percent in the preceding months.

With new flights from Cebu, the nation’s second-largest air hub is preparing for a busy holiday.

“More arrivals are anticipated. All of these will contribute to an increase in visitors to Cebu, according to Neri.

According to MCIAA’s official data, passenger traffic increased 386 percent—from 758,238 during the same period in 2021 to 3.68 million during the first three quarters of 2022.

Domestic passenger traffic increased 400% to 3.30 million from 660,814 at the same period last year, while international passenger traffic increased by 290 percent to 397,716 from 97,424.

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