DoT eyes new airline routes at Abu Dhabi fair
MANILA, Philippines—Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said the Philippines would likely score a small portion of new airline routes in its participation as an exhibitor for the first time in a global event staged to determine the future of air services.
The 18th World Routes, to be hosted by the Abu Dhabi Airports Company from September 29 to October 2, organizes and runs distinguished airline and airport networking events through its regional and World Route Development Forums.
“If we can ambush even a small share [of those routes], that will mean a lot to us,” Jimenez said on the sidelines of a national travel mart that was recently staged in Pasay City.
Under the new tourism campaign “It’s More Fun in the Philippines,” the DoT is expecting tourist arrivals to increase from 2011’s three million to 4.6 million by the end of 2012.
The tourism agency expects P190 billion in revenues from both international and domestic travel by 2016, equivalent to about 12 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
Jimenez underscored the importance of the country’s participation in the event, citing Abu Dhabi as a big tourism market. “The market of Abu Dhabi and the Middle East in general is the world… it is the hub of many international flights to Asia,” he said.
According to Tourism Assistant Secretary Benito Bengzon Jr., aviation industry leaders and stakeholders are also expected to define routes for newly acquired carriers during the four-day summit.
Bengzon said the Philippines would try to convince aviation stakeholders to invest in the country by showing the growing demands created by tourism in the country.
The Philippines will set up a booth during the conference showcasing its prime tourist destinations and airport facilities, which will focus on Mactan International Airport and Clark International Airport, recently ranked as the third-best airport free zone in the world in a survey conducted by a magazine published by the Financial Times Business Group of London.
The Philippines, being an archipelago, needs to boost its air traffic by augmenting inbound routes, said Bengzon. “Our tourism is 99-percent dependent on air traffic, so we should really work hard in reaching out to the network planners,” he said.
One way to strengthen inbound traffic is to increase flight frequency and air capacity into the country’s gateways, he added.
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