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Government Pushes For More International Flights To Philippines


Government Pushes For More International Flights To Philippines


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The Department of Tourism (DOT) is working with relevant agencies to increase flights and create new routes to the country as it seeks to boost arrivals from its top and opportunity markets.

At the Kapihan sa Bagong Pilipinas in Quezon City, DOT National Capital Region Director Sharlene Zabala-Batin said the international and domestic air transport seat capacity in the country last year has surpassed more than 90 percent of its pre-pandemic level.

This year, the DOT expects to see this number grow.

“In terms of connectivity, our routes development team is tirelessly working to collaborate with the DOTr (Department of Transportation) and other government agencies to create more flights to the Philippines (and) to enhance our existing routes and develop new ones for air and sea travel across key strategic and opportunity markets,” she said.

In 2023, seats for international flights have reached 19,112,040 or at least 94 percent of the pre-pandemic level of 20,314,865.

Capacity for domestic flights, on the other hand, recovered 99 percent of the 2019 levels at 36,433,138.

Earlier, the DOTr signed an agreement with its Korean counterpart to increase the weekly seating capacity for direct flights from Manila to Incheon and vice versa from 20,000 to 30,000.

South Korea is the country’s top market in terms of inbound arrivals, bringing in 1.45 million visitors to the country in 2023 alone.

Following South Korea as top market are the United States, Japan, Australia, China, Canada, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Malaysia.

At the briefing, Zabala-Batin said the agency is also focused on capturing the Indian market, currently ranked 13th in terms of arrival at 70,286 in 2023.

On top of connectivity, she cited the administration’s push to ease visa entry, diversification of tourism portfolio and digitalization in tourism.

For 2024, the DOT is targeting to breach its yearend arrivals and attract 7.7 million visitors. (PNA)