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Improved air agreements with Australia

MANILA, Philippines - With the commitment of enhancing inbound travel to the country, the Philippine Air Panel successfully concluded air talks with Australia, increasing air seat entitlements for Philippine and Australian carriers to 9,300 air seats per week, from the previous air seat capacity of 6,000 per week.

This 55 percent increase equivalent to 3,300 additional seats is a significant development for the aviation and tourism industries, with the market demanding greater connectivity between the Philippines and Australia.

The Philippines-Australia Air Talks were held in Canberra, Australia last month, attended by officials from several government agencies such as the Departments of Tourism (DOT), Transportation and Communications, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Industry, Labor and Employment, as well as the Civil Aeronautics Board, representing the Philippine Air Panel.

The improved air service agreement also allows for third country code sharing, which enables the existing air rights of the Philippines and Australia to be reallocated to an airline of a third country. This gives Philippine and Australian carriers the opportunity to expand their networks through cooperative arrangements with other airlines.

“There are three relevant metrics when we talk about tourism in our country – arrivals, revenues and employment. The most critical among the three is, ultimately, the number of jobs that we are able to create. But before we are able to generate the revenues that will bring jobs for our countrymen, we need to get tourists to actually step into the plane and fly to the Philippines. And in order to do that, we need to encourage more route development to spur greater tourism traffic into the country,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said. 

In 2014, there were 224,784 Australians who visited the country, accounting for 5.52 percent of tourist arrivals, making Australia the fifth biggest source market for the country in terms of international tourist arrivals.

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For the first two months of 2015, visitors from Australia comprised 7.62 percent of the total arrivals.

The improved air agreements are expected to help ensure and sustain the double-digit growth of tourist arrivals from Australia and its neighboring countries.

“We are now getting longer stays and more spending per tourist. Our tourist arrivals from Australia alone were able to generate P13.94 billion in 2014, ranking third among the countries with the highest contribution in terms of revenue. If we continue to expand and increase key access points to our country, we will be able to maximize the benefits of tourism for our people,” Jimenez added. 

In a bid to make the Philippines a multiple gateway destination in Asia, the DOT fully supports the liberal aviation strategy that allows airlines to expand their services in the country.

Apart from the air talks with Australia, the Philippines also entered into successful air agreements with Singapore and Oman earlier this year.

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