Thursday, 7 July 2011

PH domestic air travel among highest in Southeast Asia

by Macon Ramos-Araneta
Manila Standard

THE Philippines has one of the largest domestic air passenger market in Southeast Asia now after it was reported that 16 to 17 million are flying every year to different parts of the country, the Department of Tourism said.

Speaking at Wednesday’s Balitaan sa Aloha Hotel forum, Tourism Assistant Secretary for International Promotions Benito Bengzon Jr. announced that just last year, 23 million Filipinos travelled domestic. He also said that out of the 23 million, 17 million traveled by air.

“Who would have thought that 15 years, 20 years back, the only ones who took the plane were the rich one, the businessmen or those who were trying to catch the tight schedule,” Bengzon said.

Nowadays, he noted that it has become easy for the ordinary Filipino to travel due to the entry of the low cost carriers which offer cheap airplane fares.

“And what we have now is that 16 to 17 million Filipinos flying every year to different parts of the Philippines,” Bengzon said.

While the DoT has been intensifying campaign overseas to lure more tourists to the country, Bengzon said they recognize the importance of domestic tourism.

“During difficult times, it’s actually the domestic market that will keep the industry afloat,” stressed Bengzon, who is also the department’s spokesperson.

As more and more Filipinos start to better appreciate local tourist destinations, Bengzon said they see this as an immense opportunity to hook up with institutional partners.

Just recently, he related that the DoT tied up with Smart Communications Inc. for the Pilipinas “Tara na Biyahe Tayo,” and Johnson’s & Johnson’s for a photo contest depicting the country’s tourist destinations.

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