Cebu Pacific seeks 'consistency' in domestic travel rules

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 24 2021 05:57 PM

Cebu Pacific CEO Lance Gokongwei. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File
Cebu Pacific CEO Lance Gokongwei. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Cebu Pacific is betting on domestic tourism to boost operations in Q4 while urging the government to explore fewer restrictions on local travel for fully vaccinated, its president and CEO Lance Gokongwei said Friday.

"Tourism is a major part of the Philippine economy. I think we have to put in rules that enabled vaccinated citizens to start flying domestically without restrictions," Gokongwei told ABS-CBN News following an interview with BPI Chairman Jaime Zobel de Ayala.

Gokongwei said there should also be uniform rules on domestic travel since some local governments require negative RT-PCR rests while some require vaccination cards, which creates confusion.

"Every other country in the world has opened their domestic market already, so I think there’s a big opportunity for at least domestic tourism to revive before the end of the year and then towards early next year," he said. 

"We’d like to see an opening up and more incoming arrivals around, especially for those who have already been vaccinated because this COVID will become endemic at some point. It is already endemic, we have to learn how to live with it," he added.

The country's largest carrier aims to reach at least 38 percent of its pre-pandemic operating level in the fourth quarter, Cebu Pacific vice president for Marketing and Customer Experience Candice Iyog told reporters Thursday.

The carrier flies to 9 international destinations while it would boost flight frequencies to local tourist destinations Bohol, Boracay, Siargao, and Coron by October, Iyog said.

When asked about his economic outlook, Gokongwei said it is likely to "bounce back a little bit" as consumption spending continously grows.

"I'm confident it will come back in the next couple of years as more people are vaccinated, more confident to go out," he said. 

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