DOT Seeks more direct flights to attract more foreign tourist

DOT Seeks more direct flights to attract more foreign tourist

Published By: Daily Tribune

As the Department of Tourism is eyeing 7.7 million tourist arrivals this year, they are now in talks with global airline operators to bring in more foreign tourists.

This was after Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco revealed that the Philippines is currently lagging in terms of flight seats, as airline companies do not have direct flights to the country.

“Frankly speaking, when I was at the Tourism Industry Minister’s Meeting in Laos, I made a quick comparison of the number of seats and number of flights between the Philippines and its direct competitors in Southeast Asia. From our computation, we (currently) ranked at number 6, which is in direct correlation with our numbers in terms of international arrivals, therefore, the need for more direct flights and other such types of accessibility into the Philippines is of absolute importance, as we do not enjoy the inherent advantage of our neighbors of being landlocked with the other ASEAN nations,” Frasco explained during the General Membership Meeting of the Philippine Tour Operators Association, Inc. at the Makati Diamond Residences in Makati City on Wednesday.

The country received 5,450,557 international tourists in 2023, earning P484.54 billion in terms of tourism receipts.

She said with the clamor to have more flights going to the Philippines, aviation partners are responsive to the calls.

“Philippine Airlines has announced new routes domestically and is adding more flights to our tourist destinations, and also Cebu Pacific’s efforts of ensuring that more Filipinos will be able to fly with more reasonable prices. Also, United Airlines, which has high-demand flights from the US to Manila, said they will add more flights not only in Manila but to Cebu and our other international airports,” Frasco said.

Meanwhile, PAL Vice President for Sales Bud Britanico, in an interview with reporters during the same event, stated that management of the Flag Carrier is contemplating adding flights from Europe that will depend on the aircraft availability.

“We are studying it. As mentioned by our President and COO Stanley Ng, new routes will depend on the arrival of new planes in 2025 onwards. That is the plan to consider certain routes in Europe. We are also choosing some countries to have more flights, especially those countries that have a significant number of Filipinos, for example, in the Schengen area such as Italy and France,” Britanico told reporters.

PAL recently announced that it had firmed up the purchase of nine (9) brand-new Airbus A350-1000 long-haul aircraft for its signature routes to North America and potentially to Europe. These 380-seater new-generation jets, to be delivered starting in 2025, will be the most advanced to fly the Philippine skies. The A350-1000 acquisition will put PAL firmly on the road toward operating one of the youngest and most modern widebody fleets in Asia.

PHILTOA’s plans

Meanwhile, PHILTOA, Inc. president Arjun Shroff said his group is focused on major endeavors towards uplifting the stance of its member tour operators and travel agents.

Key priorities for this year are the continuity of the annual Philippine Travel Mart, embracing the digitization process, and training and education, and product developments.

“We will collaborate with the DoT, Commission on Higher Education, and the Tourism Promotions Board in enhancing the working programs so that we can hone people ready for work once they come up with the institution instead of retraining them,” Shroff said.

Also, Shroff said they are collaborating with the local airline industry for the airlines to have a pricing policy for everyone to travel, domestically and internationally at very reasonable prices.

PHILTOA, Inc. is an organization of tour operators and allied members actively involved in the advocacy of responsible tourism.

Founded on 12 June 1986, non-stock and non-profit organization, with a membership that includes travel agencies, hotels, resorts, transportation companies, handicraft stores, and other tourism-oriented establishments and associations.

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