MANILA — As an archipelagic state, building gateways and improving the existing ones in the Philippines is vital to further boost the growing tourism industry in the country, Tourism chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Thursday.
She said the Department of Tourism (DOT) continues to coordinate and implement a “convergence approach”, where they work in partnership with other government agencies.
“Under our convergence program, we are working with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) in the construction, rehabilitation and upgrading of our domestic and international airports,” she said in a speech during the Tourism Summit 2019 in Manila.
She said the DOT and the DOTr are also working to develop more ports that tourists can use to travel from island to island.
“The Philippines is surrounded by water, which means 97 percent of tourists arrive by air. That makes it vital for us to build more gateways as well as improve the existing ones we already have,” she said.
To date, the country has 12 international gateways that service the 49 Tourism Development Areas in the Philippines, eight of which have already undergone rehabilitation and improvements.
In 2018, new airports such as the Mactan-Cebu International Airport that can accommodate 12.5 million passengers per year, and the Bohol-Panglao International Airport with an annual capacity of 3 million passengers were inaugurated.
“Being an archipelago, our country depends on either sea or air travel for intra and international travel,” Romulo-Puyat said.
“With better airports, seaports and roads, we not only bring in local and international tourists to these destinations, but we also provide rural areas with improved transportation, access to goods, employment opportunities, and livelihoods,” she added.
By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora , PNA