Gov’t Urged To Complement Tourism Slogan With More Philippine Access


Source: Malou M. Mozo | Manila Bulletin

CEBU CITY, Cebu — Merely adopting an attractive tourism slogan such as the Department of Tourism (DOT)’s "It's more fun in the Philippines," is not enough, says former Department of Tourism director for Central Visayas, Patricia Aurora Roa.

“Good (tourism) infrastructure, along with accessibility into the country are just as important, even more so,” Roa said. “How else can these foreign visitors find out and appreciate the fact that it is more fun here?"

She said the Philippines is a promising tourism commodity but the government must open more air bilateral agreements with other countries or use existing agreements and invite foreign airlines to open routes into the country while relaxing some of existing regulatory requirements.

Roa pointed out, for instance, the decision of Qatar Airways to stop flying direct from Cebu to Doha, Qatar, which directly connects Cebu to the European and Middle Eastern markets.

Early this year, Qatar Airways announced that it will quit its commercial direct flight from Cebu to Doha citing route unprofitability, high cost of operations, and volatility of fuel costs, among other reasons.

Roa said most of the country’s Southeast Asian neighbors have already beefed up efforts to increase more foreign flights to and from their countries, and wondered whether or not perhaps the DOT and other tourism stakeholders should be exhorted to step up efforts in enabling the country into becoming a globally-competitive destination in this part of the world as well.

Similarly, Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino general manager Alfred Portenschlager said if the Philippines wants to take advantage of its potential to attract high-end business and leisure travelers all over the world, it intensify its efforts in building enough of the right infrastructure for and providing foreign tourists travel accessibility into the country should be given the first priority.

 “Although there are a number of low-cost airlines providing travel access to different destinations in Asia, business and the wealthy travelers prefer convenience over cost," Portenschlager said.