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MANILA – Department of Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco underscored the necessity of improving the country’s gateways which serve as the country’s first and last impression of tourists, and pushed for further developments of Philippines’ secondary gateways to add to the country’s growing list of “international gateways”.

Frasco issued the statement on Tuesday (May 14) during the hearing initiated by the Senate Committee on Public Services where the tourism chief served as a resource person on the proposed resolution on the state of international and domestic airports in the Philippines.

Chaired by Senator Grace Poe and presided over by Senate President Miguel Zubiri, the hearing aims to ease the burden and inconvenience of passengers, maintain world-class airports, boost tourism, and improve the image of the country in the international community.

In her opening statement, Secretary Frasco highlighted the willingness of DOT to collaborate with other government agencies that are in charge of airport operations.

“The state of our airports is not just a matter of infrastructure but a reflection of our commitment to fostering a world-class tourism industry. The Department of Tourism is dedicated to working collaboratively with all stakeholders to ensure that our airports meet the highest standards of excellence,” Secretary Frasco enthused.

During her presentation, Secretary Frasco pinpointed several critical areas necessitating attention and enhancement in the improvement of our airports. Firstly, infrastructure development and modernization are imperative, with airports requiring substantial upgrades to accommodate increasing passenger and cargo volumes. According to the tourism chief, this entails expanding terminals, enhancing runways, and improving passenger amenities to ensure safety and comfort.

Secondly, Frasco noted that operational efficiency can be bolstered through streamlined processes and advanced technologies, reducing delays and enhancing the passenger experience. Thirdly, sustainability is paramount, with a focus on adopting eco-friendly practices to reduce carbon footprints and manage waste efficiently.

Fourthly, Frasco highlighted the need to improve regional connectivity by developing secondary airports and enhancing links between smaller cities and major hubs that will distribute tourist traffic more evenly. Lastly, fostering public-private partnerships can accelerate airport development and modernization, leveraging private sector expertise and investment. By addressing these challenges, the tourism sector is hoped to flourish further, creating jobs, boosting foreign exchange earnings, and enriching cultural exchange.

“We would emphasize, however, the necessity, not only of focusing on our airports here in Metro Manila, but rather growing our secondary gateways in Cebu, Davao, Bohol, Laguindingan, and other areas in the Philippines which have great potential to become international gateways themselves. This also includes Puerto Princesa in Palawan, which has recently been declared one of the best islands in the world. Thus, apart from our focus on Metro Manila, it is our desire that the slots that are currently being occupied in Manila be distributed to our secondary gateways that are already capable of receiving international flights, especially since our tourists that come into the Philippines would like to go straight to these destinations, such as, for example, Cebu and Bohol.” Secretary Frasco stated as she emphasized the possibility of improving and upgrading other airports in the country outside of the NCR.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) lists nine airports with border control facility used for international flights.

“Thank you for this opportunity to address the Senate and contribute to this important discussion. We look forward to your support and partnership in making the Philippines the tourism powerhouse in Asia,” the Tourism Chief said as she ended her opening statement at the committee hearing.

Senate President Zubiri highlighted the need to improve our airports to assist, most especially, in helping tourism in the country to prosper.

“You know Secretary, you are fit for the job because your province has been one of the go-to provinces for many decades because of what you have done, what your family has done, and what the people of Cebu have done to promote tourism. It is the peg for many provinces what you have done for the province of Cebu,” Senate President Zubiri remarked after the Tourism Chief shared her thoughts at the Committee Hearing.

Other senators who attended the committee hearing include Hon. Nancy Binay, Hon. Mark Villar, Hon. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, Hon. Joseph Victor Ejercito and  Hon. Francis Tolentino.



Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco attended on May 14 the Senate Committee on Public Services invitation as resource person in the Committee Hearing addressing the state of international and domestic airports in the Philippines.

Published:May 15, 2024

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