THE Department of Tourism (DOT) is gearing up for two major aviation events in an effort to boost the Philippines’ bid as one of Asia’s aviation hubs.
Slated on March 10-12 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino, Routes Asia “brings together top-level speakers from across the sphere of aviation, including airlines, airports, destinations, aircraft manufacturers and more, to discuss the most pressing issues facing aviation now and into the future.”
Meanwhile, the CAPA Asia Aviation that will be held in June is expected to gather some 300 aviation executives and decision-makers. This will be the perfect avenue to converge and discuss new possibilities in mounting new routes to the Philippines.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat noted that these upcoming events will showcase the newly developed Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) and will further bolster the country’s international networks and local tourism.
“It’s all system go for these two major aviation events. We are looking forward to boost not just the number of air seats but also that of new routes and development opportunities for smoother and faster travels to and from the country. “
“We’re not only trying to increase the utilization of our secondary gateways like Cebu, but we’re also trying to decongest Manila, not only of its passenger traffic but as well as the aircraft movement.” Puyat said.
Through both Routes Asia and CAPA Aviation Summit, the Philippine aviation industry looks forward to further capacity and infrastructure enhancements in the coming years,” added Puyat.
In 2018, the DOT’s Route Development Team under the Tourism Development sector facilitated the opening of 40 new international air routes that provided a total of 1, 595, 568 air seats this year, of this number, 23 are from local airlines while the remaining 17 are facilitated by international carriers.
To sustain the momentum of growing Chinese interest in the Philippines, a total of 21 new routes to and from China were produced providing for some 745, 000 additional seats while three routes to and from Taiwan created an additional 84, 000 air seats.
Data from the Official Aviation Guide (OAG) analytics show that Philippines saw an increase in international traffic of 11.33 million or a 5.4% growth from the 10.71 million recorded for the same period last year.
This growth translated to an increase of more than 600,000 in international air passenger traffic as the demand for international inbound air seats to the Philippines remained very strong.
Undersecretary for Tourism Development Benito Bengzon, Jr. emphasized that further developments are expected to draw higher foreign tourist arrivals and are anticipated for the eleven priority gateways: Laoag, Clark, Manila, Puerto Princesa and Legaspi in Luzon; Iloilo, Kalibo, Bacolod, Cebu and Bohol in the Visayas; and Laguindingan in Mindanao.
Just recently, the DOT and Department of Transportation (DOTr), together with other public and private tourism stakeholders gathered for the first ever Convergence Conference on Airport Development.
Representing Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Undersecretary for Tourism Regulation Coordination & Resource Generation Arturo Boncato emphasized on the country’s growing tourism industry and called for aggressive transport infrastructure development, accompanied by more sound policies and fiscal, regulatory, and investment policies.
Under the National Tourism Development Plan, transport infrastructure was identified as one of the strategic programs in pursuing competitiveness and inclusive growth.