Attracting 10M tourists to PH by 2016 calls for 15M plane seats

By Lenie Lectura, BusinessMirror

Posted at Oct 01 2012 07:56 AM | Updated as of Oct 01 2012 06:52 PM

MANILA, Philippines - For the country to attain its goal of hitting 10 million tourists by 2016, the Philippine air panel should negotiate up to 15 million seats, according to a budget carrier.

“From our perspective, the [air panel] should be looking at 14 million seats. If we want to hit 10 million tourists, then we must negotiate a total of 14 million to 15 million seats,” Candice Iyog, Cebu Pacific vice president for marketing,
said in an interview last week.

Not all tourists will board Philippine carriers for their flight into the country as some will opt to book their flights with foreign airlines, the reason these carriers, Iyog added, need more seats to lure tourists.

“We would need this much additional capacity and the [panel] must realize that you have to factor in flight entitlements if we want to promote tourism,” she said.

The Department of Tourism (DOT), a part of the negotiating team, recorded 2.5 million tourists arrivals in the Philippines at end-July this year.

For 2012, the DOT expects 4.6 million tourist arrivals as against 3.9 million recorded in 2011.

The country’s top tourism markets include South Korea, China, Taiwan, the United States, Japan, Australia, Singapore, Canada and Germany.

In a bid to attract more tourists, the DOT is promoting MICE--meetings, incentive travel, conventions and exhibitions/events.

Also, it is promoting the country via TV ads on CNN, billboards in the United Kingdom and the US and participation in major travel fairs and exhibitions in other major tourist markets.