Aquino sees up to 3M tourists in Boracay by 2015
MALAY, Aklan, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino expects three million tourists a year to flock to Boracay and the rest of Aklan when the expansion of the Caticlan airport under his administration’s public-private partnership program is completed in 2015.
In a speech at the inauguration of the airport’s refurbished terminal building in Barangay Caticlan Saturday, Aquino said the expected three million visitors would mean an additional P322.5 billion being poured into the economy of this province.
And with the promise of huge revenues brought by increased tourist arrivals, Aquino said, the government will also put for bidding PPP projects for the development of the airports in other tourist destinations such as Bohol, Daraga in Albay and Puerto Princesa in Palawan.
“This new terminal can be considered as a huge gate that will open up many opportunities—not only for the coming and going of foreign businessmen and tourists—but also for the continued improvement of tourism in the country, long-term progress in the economy and more jobs that our countrymen can earn from,” he said.
Even with the planned improvements far from complete, the president said he already expects a 30 percent increase in tourist arrivals from the current 700,000 passengers that go through the Caticlan airport in a year.
His expectation is based on the installation of runway lights that would make night landings and take-offs possible at Caticlan.
The expansion and upgrading of the airport in Caticlan, gateway to Boracay Island off the town of Malay, is being undertaken by TransAire Development Holdings Corp., a subsidiary of San Miguel Corp..
The airport now also boasts of a new airconditioned terminal building, with new x-ray scanners, computerized check-in counters and a high-tech baggage carousel. It also has an ambulance and a firetruck of its own.
Aquino thanked SMC president Ramon Ang and the management and staff of the SMC and TransAire for the work already done.
“This airport is a concrete example of the good results of the partnership of the government and the private sector for the welfare of the country,” Aquino said.
When the development by TransAire is completed, the airport’s runway would be extended from the present 950 meters to 2,500 meters.
It is also envisioned to have a jetty for a quick boat transfer to Boracay island, a 5,000-room budget hotel, a 25,000-seat convention center and a shopping mall that would also provide business opportunities for those who live in the area.
“Also a part of the infrastructure projects are the building of airports and improvements of the destinations in the country, with the objective of enhancing the tourism image of the country,” the President said.
“In fact, the government will conduct bidding for public-private partnership projects to further enhance and modernize the airports in Bohol, Daraga and Puerto Princesa,” he added.
Aside from the Chocolate Hills and the tarsiers, Bohol also offers fine beaches on the island of Panglao. Puerto Princesa is a biodiversity haven and is home to the Puerto Princesa Underground River. Daraga in Albay offers the majestic Mayon Volcano.
The PPP’s are meant to tap private sector capital to fund infrastructure such as roads, bridges and airports while freeing up government money to spend for basic services such as education and public health.