Philippines Department of Tourism (DOT) is now confident that the Philippines will finally reach this year its six million international tourist arrivals target with an expected influx of Chinese and Japanese tourists in the country. This came after Chinese and Japanese airlines expressed their intent to open more international direct flights to destinations outside of Manila. The potential of new flights are a direct consequence of recent visits by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to both countries in October.
“Definitely, we will surpass the target of six million (this 2016),” Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said in an interview with local newspapers. The State Secretary was also part of the government entourage who accompanied the Filipino President during his recent trips. Mrs Teo declared that Chinese and Japanese airlines agreeing to mount direct flights to secondary gateways, particularly Laoag, Cebu and Davao. As an example, Japanese low-cost airline Vanilla Air, said it would start serving the Tokyo-Cebu route on Dec. 25 this year.
The carrier also reported its first flight in December has already been sold out. The DOT also signed an agreement with China Eastern Airlines to commence chartered flights for the Guangzhou-Laoag route. The charter flight will return to its operation on Nov. 1 and will be available twice a week.
The DOT hopes also that both Philippine Airlines and China Eastern Airlines will link Davao to Japan (most probably PAL would launch a service via Cebu) while the Chinese carrier could also have charter and then regular flights to the Southern city, where Mr. Duterte was its mayor for many years. The new government seems to push a lot for Davao to be one of the new emerging destination for international travellers visiting the archipelago.
According to DOT, China was the third largest inbound market for the Philippines between January and August of this year with a total of 485,000 travellers while Japan was the fourth largest inbound market with 367,000 arrivals.