“The objective is to showcase the huge potential of Puerto Princesa and the surrounding areas to the Korean market, as well as to highlight secondary destinations to encourage carriers to mount more flights,” Department of Tourism (DOT) Undersecretary Benito Bengzon said on the sidelines of the DOT Christmas Countdown event.
Last month, Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) executive director Carmelo Arcilla said air talks between the two countries are set in November in Puerto Princesa. Furthermore, he confirmed in a text message that direct flights from Incheon and Busan to Puerto Princesa are being considered.
Koreans remain the top tourist market for the Philippines, registering 901, 749 arrivals for in the eight-months to August 2015 or a 25.12 percent share of total inbound traffic.
“Korea is our No. 1 market and it’s very important for us to always look at the capacity situation so when either side feel that there is a need to increase flight frequency then we go back to the negotiating table,” Bengzon said.
DOT has not set targets for tourist arrivals in Palawan as these figures will depend on the number of flights and type of aircraft to be used once the air talks commence.
Bengzon said infrastructure in Puerto Princesa can support possible increase in tourist inflow as the airport is being upgraded and accommodation facilities range from upscale to budget-type hotels and resorts.
Meanwhile, Bengzon noted majority of previous and current air talks the country enters into are involving source markets for the Philippines which is good for the tourism sector, such as talks with Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Middle East and Turkey.
“The percentage share of air talks involving our major markets has been growing and increasing and this is a very clear indication that the talks are taken into a more strategic approach. As the demand grows, then it is necessary that we increase more flights and disperse the traffic into wider areas,” he added.
On the other hand, the entry of low cost carrier (LCC) V Air from Taiwan early next year is expected to further increase tourism in the country, as growth of air travel has been propelled by various LCCs.
“LCCs have become a very attractive option for travelers. Every time you get LCCs flying to the Philippines, you can expect an increase in the volume of inbound tourists,” Bengzon said.
Source: Nov 10 Philstar