Jun 062013

MANILA, Philippines – The moratorium on the issuance of landing permits at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is sending the wrong signal to international investors, the country’s largest travel/tourism groups said.

In a joint statement, Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) and the Federation of Tourism Industry of the Philippines (FTIP) said they are asking the government to study carefully the impact of the moratorium to the tourism industry and the economy as a whole.

PTAA president John Paul Cabalza said the industry already anticipated the influx of request for permits to have regular flights into the country’s major gateways after the scrapping of the common carriers tax (CCT) earlier this year.

“Having a strong Philippine tourism campaign requires the support of other government agencies and needs a singular voice on that same plan. We cannot give the international community mixed signals when we push hard to open a door and yet have that door being shut again,” he said.

For her part, interim FTIP president Aileen Clemente said more than just addressing the flight congestion challenges of NAIA, “we want the government in general, to map out and address connectivity, tourism growth, and capacity build-up across the country.”

Earlier reports came out that the Civil Aviation Board (CAB) has denied the request of both India’s Jet Airways and Oman Airways to mount regular flights to Manila.

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Jet Airways is the second largest carrier in India with 21 international destinations across Asia, Europe, and North America. It also has code sharing agreements with 11 large international Airlines.

Oman Airways, on the other hand, has flights to 19 international destinations and has code sharing agreements with three international airlines.

“The two airlines serve a large market which the Philippines can tap into. With the country already making headway in the Indian market, the move to deny the request of the two airlines is very much untimely,” Cabalza said.

For the first four months of the year, Indian tourist arrivals are already in the top 20 with a growth of 23 percent as compared to the same period in 2012.

By next month, the Department of Tourism will host a tourism convention for about 200 travel agencies and entrepreneurs from India. 

Moreover, six of the top 10 tourist arrivals in the country from January to April came from Asian countries.

Clemente said as an archipelago, the Philippines is largely reachable only by air with the major infrastructures and the biggest business district remaining in Metro Manila, which makes NAIA a key entry point.

“The government, together with the industry players, should demonstrate the ability to sustain growth not just in the tourism industry but in the country’s economy in general. Having a strategic and extensive connectivity and network is vital to the country’s continued economic growth,” Clemente said.

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