Philippines to act on access and infrastructure

THE PHILIPPINES’ new action-oriented, five-year National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP), focusing on access and infrastructure (TTG Asia e-Daily, January 21), will be submitted to President Benigno S. Aquino III for final approval next month.

About 10 per cent of the country’s GDP receipts are from tourism, and the Aquino administration considers the industry as a “frontliner and revenue-driver.”

Department of Tourism (DoT) secretary, Alberto Lim, said that the NTDP would focus on three strategies: improving market access and connectivity, introducing more competitive tourist destinations and products, and what the government termed as “improved institutional, governance and human resource capabilities” in tourism.

The first part of the plan will include upgrading the facilities of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, as well as the improvement and construction of secondary airports.

Two new airports will be built on the resort island of Panglao in Bohol, and in Daraga, Albay, where national landmark, Mayon Volcano, is located. Airports in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan and Cagayan de Oro on the island of Mindanao will also receive priority upgrading. All four will be given international airport status.

Bohol governor Edgar Chatto told TTG ASIA e-Daily that the Panglao airport project, worth 7.54 billion pesos (US$340 million), would be built under a public-private partnership agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Chatto noted that the new airport in Panglao was already attracting local and foreign hotel investors, and had created a wave of expansion in existing resorts. “Investors would like to see the airport construction underway,” he said. “The airport is factored into their investment decisions.”

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