Philippines will capitalize on open skies to boost tourism, says DOT chief

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MANILA, Philippines – After adopting a full air access policy, the government is now working hard to boost other sectors that support tourism to maximize benefits from the open sky policy, said Tourism Secretary Albertio Lim, in an interview on Sunday morning with 990AM.

“The success of the tourism industry lies in the realization of EO 29, together with the full implementation of the tourism infrastructure plans of President Aquino, Lim said.

The next ‘big steps’ which the Aquino administration are pursuing to implement these plans include developing and improving our airports, attracting investments in tourism establishments, upgrading our unique products and services, and addressing the security risks identified by the US Federal Aviation Authority to upgrade the country back to Category 1”,said Lim.

The Tourism secretary said the signing of  EO 29, declaring pocket open skies in airports outside of Metro Manila shows “the government’s focus and dedication to strategic actions aimed at direct economic growth.”

Responding to phoned-in question, Lim argued the opening the country to foreign carriers will boost tourism and the Philippines’ competitiveness as an investment location, as well as open vast economic opportunities in every region.

“Without this, the targets of attracting over six million tourists, collecting $18.5 billion in tourism receipts, and creating three million new tourism jobs by 2016 will likely just end up as — like many other ambitious goals in the past — missed targets,” he said..

Lim also said the absence of air rights reciprocity is not an indication of the absence of any form of reciprocity.

“The economic potential of the policy, especially in bringing in more tourists resulting to the generation of new jobs and the stimulation of the local economy, is the “reciprocal benefit” of the open skies policy, which it is expected to affect millions of Filipinos,” explained Lim.

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