On Wednesday (Aug 2), Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco announced a significant increase in both inbound and domestic flights to the Philippines, boosting tourism industry growth. This development follows a year-long initiative by the Department of Tourism (DOT), in collaboration with the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and various aviation stakeholders.
Frasco’s initiative, stemming from industry feedback, has focused on improving connectivity and gateway access, resulting in a seamless travel experience and maximizing the country’s aviation hubs. This is part of the Marcos administration’s efforts to develop the tourism industry by facilitating partnerships with international and local air carriers.
According to the DOT’s June 2023 report, eight of the country’s international gateways have seen substantial growth in incoming frequencies and seats per week. Notably, Clark and Manila have seen increases of 180% and 75% respectively, compared to June 2022. Other significant increases include Kalibo with a 640% rise, and Cebu with a 300% surge in incoming frequencies. The report also noted an introduction of 58 new incoming weekly frequencies from various origin cities between June and July 2023.
Domestic connectivity has also improved, with the tourism industry gaining at least 17 city pairs and around 83 incoming weekly frequencies between July 2022 and June 2023. New domestic air routes, such as Cebu-Baguio, Cebu-Borongan, and Cebu-Naga, have been established during this period.
Adding to the positive news, US-based United Airlines plans to initiate nonstop flights connecting Manila with San Francisco starting October. This will be the first American carrier to fly direct to Manila from the continental US in a long while.
Secretary Frasco expressed her gratitude towards all partners in the aviation industry for their efforts in resuming flights that were halted due to the pandemic, and for instituting new flights to revitalize the country’s tourism industry.