Local travel agents are expected to cash in on the lifting of the ban on Philippine Airlines to fly into European Union airspace, as this development will likely boost tourism activities between the Philippines and 28 countries in Europe.
In a statement, Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) president John Paul Cabalza said the organization’s members can now “aggressively offer more packages and services built around Europe and the increased frequencies of travel.”
On Wednesday, the European Union announced the lifting of the ban, after PAL managed to resolve aviation safety concerns.
Having direct flights to Europe is expected to provide “strong additional incentive for European tourists to visit the Philippines.”
According to PTAA data, a European tourist coming to the country spends $80 a day and stays in the Philippines for an average of eight days.
The Philippines is considered one of the eight cheapest destinations in Asia.
“European tourists and those from India and China stay the longest and spend more while in the country. There is now a big area for growth with PAL flights to Europe starting again,” Cabalza explained.
In the first five months of the year, the United Kingdom (UK) and Germany were the only European countries that registered large tourist arrivals in the country.
The PTAA has more than 500 members including travel agencies, hotels, resorts, airlines, theme parks, global distribution system providers, insurance companies, and educational institutions.
Its members have a strong long-standing relationship with PAL, having supported the flag carrier even when it was under receivership.
The national carrier is also a reliable supporter of the association’s flagship project, the annual Travel Tour Expo.
“While there have been times in the past when the PTAA and PAL had different positions on certain issues, we have always maintained the Philippines should have a strong national carrier that will embody the best of what our country has to offer,” Cabalza said.
Cabalza added that the group was looking forward to supporting PAL in its plans to fly to France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.
“As a country, we should all be proud that PAL would be returning to Europe after 15 years of absence. We laud the efforts of both the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and PAL towards the lifting of the ban,” Cabalza said.