MANILA – In an effort to expand air connectivity to Philippine destinations, Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo led a government-private sector delegation to this week’s World Routes 2017 Forum in Barcelona, Spain. 

“Attending routes conferences has helped launch new and expand existing operations in the country.  Ninety-eight percent of the country’s international visitors arrive by air such that development of access to and within the Philippine archipelago is crucial in sustaining continued growth in visitor arrivals.  This forum has been a great venue to network and discuss with as many managers and decision-makers in the aviation and routes management,” said Teo.

The World Routes Forum is a must-attend aviation event for those meaning to expand markets, develop new routes and improve on connectivity through better air services and frequencies. 

This year’s forum, participated in by close to 3,000 representatives from aviation and tourism authorities and other allied industries, featured platforms for networking, presentations by expert resource persons and business to business meetings. 

DOT Undersecretary Benito C. Bengzon, Jr. participated as one of the panelists to the discussion on “Will 2020 be a tipping point for tourism?  Is it possible to increase air services and to be sustainable?”

To attracting foreign carriers to fly to the Philippines, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has begun putting up and upgrading secondary airports to increase capacities to receive more flights, night schedules and wider bodied aircraft. 

“As envisioned in our 2016-2022 National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP), by 2022, the other secondary airports would have upgraded to address congestion in Manila and to disperse the benefits of tourism to the countryside.

These airport development projects aim to increase international tourist arrivals to 24 million visitors and projected terminal capacity of various airports will reach 89.5 million from 42.8 million in 2015,” Teo added. 

Among those who travelled with Teo were Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) represented by Chief Administrative Officer Atty. Rhea Joy Morales-Gonzalez, Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) led  by General Manager Atty. Steve Dicdican, and GMR Megawide Cebu’s Ravishankar Saravu.  DOT officials include CALABARZON Director Rebecca Labit and Market Development Group-Routes Head Dr. Erwin Balane.

In main photo, World Routes 2017 Philippine delegation led by DOT Secretary Teo (center) together with officials from the Civil Aeronautics Board, Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority, and GMR Megawide Cebu’s Ravishankar Saravu