MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The Department of Tourism (DOT) welcomed recent announcements from local airlines on the reopening of direct flights from Clark International Airport (Clark) to the country’s prime island tourist locations.
The tourism chief made the statement as Cebu Pacific confirmed boosting of the Clark hub with the combined 13 domestic and international routes. The airline also announced that three of its aircrafts will be based in Clark. The newly established flights will service Caticlan, Davao, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, General Santos, and Cagayan de Oro starting April of this year, while the Puerto Princesa route will commence in June. The international routes include Clark to Hongkong, Bangkok, and Singapore.
Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines has announced that they will start flying flights from Clark to Caticlan beginning April 01, while Clark to Busuanga flights will commence on April 02, both on a scheduled basis.
Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco said that the newly reopened routes will surely boost the country’s domestic and international tourism as the routes provide added connectivity to the country’s in demand tourist destinations.
“After months of our continuous discussions with relevant aviation agencies and stakeholders such as the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Cebu Pacific, and Philippine Airlines, we welcome these additional flights as it serves the Marcos administration’s efforts to vastly improve tourism connectivity and spread economic opportunity nationwide” the tourism chief said in a statement.
“These flights will further invigorate the growing interest in our destinations among both domestic and international tourists, and further add to livelihood and employment opportunities for our tourism stakeholders and frontliners,” added the DOT chief, who also cited that in 2022, the industry generated over PHP 214 Billion in estimated revenues, and created 5.2 million tourism-related jobs.
Secretary Frasco noted that the reopening dates are very timely in order to meet market demand for flights to our key tourism destinations during the long Holy Week holidays.
In her first few months as tourism secretary, she engaged in listening tours and discussions with various tourism stakeholders from the public and private sectors to align and properly act on the needs of the pandemic-hit industry.
The DOT, together with the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), airline executives, and other concerned agencies, met last January 25 to discuss the enhancement of the utilization of the Clark International Airport. The purpose of the meeting was to identify ways to increase flights into Clark and establish it as a viable alternate airport and at the same time, help in the decongestion of the country’s main gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Currently, the airport is only at 12 percent utilization, receiving only around 80,000 passengers a month despite its eight million annual passenger capacity.
“DOT has been working with the DOTr pushing for the maximization of the Clark International Airport with the goal of establishing it as a viable alternate airport so it will be utilized to its full potential. With the additional flights we meet a number of objectives: the decongestion of NAIA and minimizing crowding in other airports, as well as develop the region further and attract more tourism activities and businesses in the area,” the tourism secretary emphasized.
Further, the DOT regional offices welcome the Caticlan-Clark and Busuanga-Clark Inbound Travel Exchanges, interest for which was manifested at the DOT’s first North Luzon Travel Fair in November last year.
The event served as the venue for stakeholders from Regions 1, 2, the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), 3, 4-B, 6, National Capital Region (NCR), 11, and 12 to meet in one venue or one-on-one business sessions to network and discuss marketing and promotions initiatives for each region’s tourism products and services.