Philippine transport and tourism chiefs plan network of 85 airports

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Philippine tourism and transport chiefs are looking to develop at least 85 airports across the country — up from the current 25 in operation.

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The Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) plan to develop the network in order to promote tourism growth.

“We are talking about developing our airports so that we have more capacity to receive flights from other destinations and accommodate more tourists to the country,” DOT Undersecretary Arturo Boncato said at a conference in Makati City yesterday (Monday, December 10).

“We also like to develop a certain path in developing airports that need initial help. They’re not primary; they are secondary they probably don’t have the desired number of tourists yet but given the potential of the destination we could give more attention to it in developing.”

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He also said that the DOT wanted to focus on creating new facilities to the provinces that could be linked with major hubs such as Manila, Cebu, Davao and Clark.

“For instance, we would like to give as an example the Davao International Airport. There is a small airport in Mati, Davao Oriental. If you travel by land that’s around three hours from Davao but if we open in Mati that would help improve the economy of not only Davao Oriental but Compostela Valley all the way to the eastern seaboard going to Surigao. 

“So that is the kind of concept that we would like to rollout in developing our airports. So there’s a hub and there’s spokes — small airports to support the big ones.”

The tourism department has been asked to give advice to the DOTr on which locations to prioritise, based on demand from visitors.

Currently, there are 13 domestic and 12 international airports in the Philippines that are either completed or have ongoing improvements and upgrades. Another 17 are awaiting modernisation.

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