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Philippine Tourism Hopes to Climb Greater Heights as EU Lifts Air Ban on PAL

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The head of EU delegation in the Philippines Guy Ledoux announced on Wednesday that the European Air Safety Committee lifted the air ban on PAL, which will take effect on Friday, 19 July 2013. This raised high hopes of the Department of Tourism to meet its targeted 10 million foreign tourists at the end of president Aquino’s term in administration. Three years had passed since the Philippines was restricted from flying to member states of the European Union due to non-compliance with the international safety standards.

Ledoux said that direct air connections between countries have a positive impact on business relations, as the “EU-Philippines trade and investment relations will benefit from the lifting of the air ban.” 

PAL president Ramon Ang indicated that the company will start having direct flights between Manila and Europe, particularly in Paris, London, Rome and Amsterdam in September or October. The plan will make the Philippines’ national flag carrier as the only airline with direct links to both points after the demise of Air-France-KLM Manila-Amsterdam flight operations in April 2012. This is another attestation to PAL’s strong lead in the aviation industry, in keeping with being the first airline in Asia.

This will pose a challenge for the tourism sector to make fast improvements on the country’s infrastructures, facilities, and campaigns for there will surely be a rise in tourist arrivals with the restoration of Philippines’ link to Europe.

In a text message sent to GMA News Online, the Department of Tourism assistant secretary for International Tourism Promotions Benito Bengzon said, “European tourists in the Philippines… 8.5 percent… With the lifting of the ban and the announcement of PAL to mount flights to Europe, we expect accelerated growth rate from major markets such as UK, Germany and France.” 

The Department of Tourism has recognised that among the groups of 17-single currency member states in EU, the leading markets from the EU countries are France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The Federation of Tourism in the Philippines president Aileen Clemente has expressed their intent to be “more aggressive in promoting the Philippines to these markets.” 

Now the Philippine aviation officials are also working hard to have other European authorities follow suit EU in lifting air restrictions on other Philippine carriers. For one, the Civil Aeronautics Board are making preparations to discuss reforms regarding air-service agreements with Italy and France. 

CAB Director Carmelo Arcilla said in a phone interview, “We have confirmed schedules with those countries to conduct air talks.” (Lenie Lectura, Business Mirror) 

Arcilla said their schedule to exchange air talks with Italy will take place on September. They are pursuing for operations with seven weekly flights and multiple destinations. On the other hand, negotiation with France for the same number of flights will occur in January 2014. 

Plans are also being made to have bilateral arrangements with air travel officials in South Africa. 

Additional flights to Hong Kong and China are always considered in the projection for further development.

Negotiations for expansion in air travel are striving to achieve unlimited flights to any point in the Philippines, save for Manila as indicated in the Executive Order 29 due to its congested airports.




Author: Roanne Santos  



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