Decongesting M. Manila key to sustained growth
Asia News Net , 11-27-2014
THE Aquino administration may find it difficult to achieve its
goal of having 10 million tourist arrivals by the end of its term
in 2016 due to the slow roll out of infrastructure in air
transportation, officials of real estate services firm KMC MAG
Group said Wednesday.
The tourism sector is a promising sector for the Philippines but
it has met stagnation in terms of foreign tourist arrivals, KMC MAG
Group vice president Yves Luethi said in a briefing in Makati
"Everything is there. The natural resources are there but
unfortunately the infrastructure can't really accommodate the mass
tourism which we target," he said.
Luethi cited the 3.267 million visitor arrivals as of
end-August, just up 2.72 percent from of 3.18 million a year
"From January to August, it's stagnant. The target of 10 million
by 2016 will be hard to achieve. What are the major issues there?
Of course, it goes back to poor infrastructure," he said.
"We will need a major push, the private sector has already
proposed different opportunities and options, Sangley airport among
others," Luethi added.
The findings of the property services firm came two weeks after
Department of Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said the country was
hard pressed to meet the 6.8 million foreign tourist arrivals this
year due to travel ban imposed by other countries and the aftermath
of killer Typhoon Yolanda.
In the same briefing, capital markets and investments head Jose
Carmelo Porciuncula stressed the need to develop provincial
airports, noting that it is tedious if tourists have to go through
"It makes sense. If you land in Cebu, it's not traffic that you
If you land it through Manila, you go through our airports, you
take the hour and a half drive to your hotel and then you stay
overnight and then go back to the same airport," he said.
While the government and private sector are pushing to improve
direct transport into the country's top destinations, Porciuncula
said both sectors have to make more efforts.
"We hope they move a little faster so that we can take advantage
of the boom," he said.
After undergoing a one-year rehabilitation, international
airlines moved to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3
(NAIA-3)-which became fully operation last July.
Meanwhile, the NAIA Terminal 1 is currently is currently
rehabilitated, which is expected to be completed by January
Under public-private partnerships (PPP), the upgrade of
Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) is facing delays due to
disputes from private firms that participated in the bidding and
GMR-Megawide was the winning bidder in the 25-year concession
deal for the private-public partnership project to rehabilitate and
expand the MCIA.
In January 2015, the Philippine government will bid out six
airports-Laguindingan, Panglao, Puerto Princesa, Davao, Bacolod,
and Iloilo airports-in bundles.
"The government and private sector is working on a massive plan.
It can further open doors and investment opportunities," Luethi