PH-Australia air deal spurs tourism growth

By Danessa O. Rivera, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 12 2015 08:55 AM | Updated as of May 12 2015 04:55 PM

MANILA - The Department of Tourism (DOT) said the recently improved air agreements between the Philippines and Australia cements a double-digit growth in tourist arrivals.

The new air services agreement – and third for the year – is expected to help ensure and sustain the double-digit growth of tourist arrivals from Australia and its neighboring countries, Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. said in a statement yesterday.

“There are three relevant metrics when we talk about tourism in our country – arrivals, revenues, and employment. The most critical among the three is, ultimately, the number of jobs that we are able to create,” he said.

“But before we are able to generate the revenues that will bring jobs for our countrymen, we need to get tourists to actually step into the plane and fly to the Philippines. And in order to do that, we need to encourage more route development to spur greater tourism traffic into the country,” he added.

Last year, Australia was the fifth biggest source market for the Philippines in terms of international tourist arrivals, accounting for 224,784 visitors or 5.52 percent of the total.

“We are now getting longer stays and more spending per tourist. Our tourist arrivals from Australia alone were able to generate P13.94 billion in 2014, ranking third among the countries with the highest contribution in terms of revenue,” Jimenez said.

In the first two months of 2015, visitors from Australia already comprised

7.62 percent of the total arrivals, making it the country’s number one source market of tourists from the Australasia and the Pacific region.

“If we continue to expand and increase key access points to our country, we will be able to maximize the benefits of tourism for our people,” the tourism secretary noted.

The Philippine-Australia Air Talks was held in Canberra, Australia last April 27-28. Officials from the DOT, Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) represented the Philippine Air Panel.

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