“I have a vacation booked to Boracay in the Philippines, and I’m supposed to arrive this week. Considering what has happened there with the typhoon, should I still come? Maybe I should cancel - I feel bad about enjoying my vacation with so many people dead or suffering.”
It’s a great question, and one I would ask, too, considering booking airfare, hotels, etc. can cost thousands of dollars, which would never be refunded if they cancelled.
Here is how I answer them:
I appreciate the sentiment, but the reality is this: you NOT coming on your vacation isn’t going to help anyone here in the Philippines. In fact, a tourism pullback can only damage local economies, especially as we’re going into the “high” season when so many families are counting on the tourism industry. Hayden Fernando, President of the Boracay Tourism Association, says that up to 70% of the island’s residents make their living directly from tourism dollars.
And when you leave, make a donation to a relief organization, like DirectRelief.org, or others who are doing great work to help the victims of the typhoon. Give as much as you can – that is up to you.
In my humble opinion, THAT is the best way to proceed with your vacation, but still honor the victims of the typhoon, all the while making some new heartfelt friendships in the Philippines.