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PH targets more flights to S. Korea, Japan, China

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South Korea, Japan and China have topped the government’s list of “priority” markets that the Philippines needs to increase flights to in an attempt to attract more tourists and spur domestic output.

Documents from the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) showed Thailand and Indonesia rounding out the list of top five countries rated by officials as high “source markets” for tourists.

“The prioritization of these countries is in line with our country’s thrust to promote tourism as a pillar of our overall economic strategy,” documents submitted by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to the office of Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II read.

“These figures must be tested against other important factors, such as market growth potential, inbound versus outbound traffic … economic condition of potential tourists, and other important factors,” the papers said.

The next five on the list were Australia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Myanmar and Brazil.

“Brazil is a key part of Philippine Airlines’ (PAL) long term plan to open pioneering routes to South America. Brazil produces more visitors to the Philippines than any other South American country,”  CAB said.

The Aquino administration has tagged the tourism industry as one of the major growth drivers for the Philippine economy.

By the end of the President’s term in 2016, the government hope to have 10 million foreign tourists visiting the Philippines, up from three million in 2010.

The DOTC said countries on the priority list may not necessarily be the biggest markets for the country’s airlines. The main factor would be the potential for growth.

Earlier this month, the Philippine Air Panel, chaired by DOTC Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, signed a new Air Services Agreement with South Korea, increasing flights to and from the Philippines by 50 percent.

“South Korea is our number one source of inbound tourists, by a large margin. Korea is also number one in the list of priority markets submitted by the Tourism department (DOT),” the document said.


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