By Ma. Cristina Arayata
MANILA – Local airlines on Tuesday welcomed the Marcos administration’s National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) for 2023 to 2028, highlighting the plan’s support to enhance connectivity.
The NTDP lays down the seven objectives that focus on the essential pillars of development. These objectives involve not only the promotion of the Philippines domestically and internationally, but addressing the essential issues of tourism development including the development of infrastructure, connectivity, as well as digitalization, the equalization of tourism development and promotion, the enhancement of the overall tourist experience, as well as the strengthening of tourism governance.
“Enhancing our flight route network is in line with our mission to serve the needs of our flying public. We support the government’s tourism development plan,” Philippine Airlines (PAL) spokesperson Cielo Villaluna told the Philippine News Agency.
PAL’s goal as a national carrier is to create air connectivity by tapping on the strategic location of our hubs, she said, adding that the airline continues to study potential domestic, regional and international routes.
Villaluna noted that operating domestic, regional and international flights in and out of Manila, and revitalizing flights out of our other hubs, enables PAL to provide passengers greater connectivity and convenience as well as flexibility of choice.
As an example, she said PAL has been leveraging the strength of Cebu by enhancing its connectivity across the Philippines.
From Cebu, the carrier flies to Baguio, Busuanga, Borongan, Caticlan, Puerto Princesa, Bacolod, Iloilo, Tacloban, Siargao, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Davao, Cotabato and Butuan.
PAL’s Cebu-Cotabato flights, on the other hand, connect to Tawi-Tawi.
Cebu Pacific (CEB), meanwhile, also welcomed the government’s initiatives in the NTDP.
“CEB welcomes these initiatives that will make the Philippines a tourism powerhouse within the next five years. These initiatives will help drive increased trade and tourism of which air travel will be a key component,” spokesperson Carmina Romero told the PNA.
The low-cost airline will launch this month daily flights between Manila and Laoag.
CEB President Xander Lao earlier said they are hoping that the launch of the Laoag route, their 35th domestic destination, will encourage more people to travel and experience the Ilocos Region.
“Laoag plays a crucial role in preserving the country’s rich history and culture, and we are excited to finally be able to bring more Juans to this beautiful city,” he said.
Only PAL currently offers flights between Laoag and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. (PNA)