DOT’s Jimenez: New airports, air agreements to expand tourism

March 5, 2013 at 19:20


More air agreements and international airports are needed to propel Philippine tourism forward, a Cabinet official said Tuesday. 

“We are now at 90 percent done of agreements for air seats. We need air agreements to ensure connectivity,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. told businessmen and reporters at The Joint Foreign Chambers’ of the Philippines Arangkada Forum: Realize the Potential!
Jimenez also revealed the plan to have 11 airports “ready to receive international flights of varying magnitude.”
He emphasized the need for such developments considering that “98 percent of the country’s 4.3 million [international] tourists arrive by air.”
The Tourism chief noted that “congestion in airports and seaports are problems we did not have before.”
The Philippines has 11 international airports under the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) classification, but not all are servicing international flights due to lack of air agreements.
In a panel discussion at the forum, Philippine Travel Agencies Association Public Relations Officer Aileen Clemente urged President Benigno Aquino III to sign a Congress-approved bill lifting taxes on international carriers.
“It is a must to push for improvements in air aviation to improve on our air travel, because we are an archipelagic nation,” she said.
The consolidated bill lifting the gross Philippine billings tax and common carriers tax was ratified by Congress before it went on break for the May elections.
The taxes compelled a number of international carriers—like Air France-KLM, the country’s last direct link to Europe—to skip the Philippines,.
The Tourism Department targets 10 million international tourists by 2016.
After exceeding its target of 35.5 million domestic tourists last year, President Aquino has approved a new target of 44 million domestic travelers while looking at increasing the share of tourism in the gross domestic product and employment.

Source: SIEGFRID O. ALEGADO, GMA News, 26 February 2013

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