Japanese tourist arrivals to reach 500,000-mark this year with new flights–DOT

February 3, 2016 12:25 pm 

By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, Feb. 2 (PNA) — The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Tuesday expressed optimism that Japanese tourist arrivals into the Philippines will hit 500,000 mark this year with the launch of new flights next month.

DOT Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. told reporters in an interview that Japanese tourists reached only about 496,000 last year, slightly missing its target of 500,000.

“We missed it by a hairline. We had 496,000 last year—short of 4,000,” Bengzon said.

He noted that the launch of Manila-Tokyo-Nagoya flights under Jetstar Japan in March would help add to the current frequency and seat inventory of the said route.

“If you’re looking at a target of six-million (tourist arrivals) for 2016 and you grow even by a single digit you will reach 500,000 in Japanese visitors,” Bengzon said.

He also pointed out that Japan is also on a close race with china in hitting the 500,000 visitor arrival mark.

DOT's tourist arrival goal for this year is six-million visitors.

Air talks

At present, the DOT is targeting around 10 to 15 air talks this year. However, Bengzon said that schedules for air talks had not been finalized yet.

Last year, the Philippines had about 12 air talks held.

“If we put (our targets) at par with what we’ve done in the last three years, we have to have about 10 to 15 (air talks this year),” Bengzon said.

He further said that the DOT and the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) could only announce it once both sides agreed to a specific date. Another meeting is set next week.

As for priorities, Bengzon said that the Philippines’ top markets would be one of them.

“The countries with which we are going to have air talks are those that are among our priorities. We have to look at first the top source markets of the country, top 1 to 10 then we look at utilization,” Bengzon said.

“After utilization we also have to look at the load factors of the carriers that are operating,” he added.

Aside from air talks, DOT is also counting on its hosting of Routes Asia 2016 in March to boost air connectivity in the Philippines.

Routes Asia 2016 is an aviation event that gathers all aviation-based companies who wish to conduct business to, from and within the region.

It also brings together a range of airlines, airports and tourism authorities, including some of the largest carriers from the whole Asian region. The aviation event is slated to be held on March 6-8, 2016.

DOT Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. told reporters in an interview that the event was vital to helping the country acquire additional frequencies on existing and new routes.

He further said that the aviation data would help the department in crafting an enhanced aviation strategy for the Philippines.

Around 1,000 people, mostly aviation professionals from around the world are expected to attend the event. (PNA)



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