Use open skies to boost tourism, gov’t urged | Inquirer Business

Use open skies to boost tourism, gov’t urged

/ 10:08 PM October 03, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) is urging the government to capitalize on the pocket open skies policy and to rationalize the airline tax regime to boost tourism in the country.

In an interview, PTAA president Aileen Clemente said the issuance of Executive Order No. 29, which directed the implementation of pocket open skies, was a huge step in the right direction.

However, this should be fully leveraged by opening more gateways all over the country to fully take advantage of its benefits, Ms. Clemente said.


The government should also rationalize the airline tax regime to encourage more foreign airlines to operate in the country, Clemente added.


Under the current tax structure, international carriers have to pay the common carriers tax, which represents 3 percent of gross receipts, and the gross Philippine billings (GPB) tax, which is equivalent to 2.5 percent of GPB or an aggregate taxation on gross revenue of 5.5 percent.

Local carriers, on the other hand, are not slapped with such taxes.

The government should likewise consider relaxing visa requirements, Clemente said, as this would make it so much easier for tourists to enter the country. Safeguards should just be put in place to weed out tourists considered to be threats to security.

Aside from these policy reforms, she said the government should also work on enhancing safety and security facilities in the country, including hospitals and clinics. Hospitals should be tourist-friendly, honoring medical insurance from as many countries as possible.

“We have to clear the hindrances to tourism. The travel agencies and the local carriers are doing their share. The government should do its share as well,” Clemente said.—Abigail L. Ho

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TAGS: Air Transport, airline taxes, Open skies, Philippines, Tourism

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