Legarda: Promote int’l airports like Clark
MABALACAT CITY – Senator Loren Legarda said that international airports in the country like Clark should be developed utilized in a bid to promote tourism.
“We should promote other international airports in the country such as the Clark International Airport, which will be the gateway not only to Central Luzon but also to the Cordillera Region,” said Legarda.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, has urged the Department of Tourism (DOT) to further boost its international marketing strategy to invite more foreign tourists in the country.
“We should be more aggressive in our marketing strategies, especially by placing more Philippine tourism advertisements in international channels. We need to be top of mind among tourists. I regularly see in top foreign news channels those tourism ads from our ASEAN neighbors like ‘Malaysia Truly Asia’, ‘Incredible India’, and ‘Wonderful Indonesia.’ The images are so riveting. I also want to see my country’s ad as often as the others,” said Legarda during the hearing for the proposed 2017 budget of the DOT.
“We should also be focused on our messaging because while we have a lot of beautiful tourist spots in the country, we must choose only one message that will reverberate in people’s minds,” she added.
Legarda said the committee will support amendments to augment the DOT’s budget for international marketing.
The Senator also said that tourism infrastructure, such as airports, seaports, roads and bridges, is crucial in attracting more tourists.
According to the DOT, the competitive advantage of the Philippines over other countries in Asia is that it is able to position itself as a multiple-gateway destination. For instance, in the Panay Region, there are three international airports–Kalibo, Caticlan and Iloilo. However, problems on airport infrastructure and traffic remain.
In line with this, Legarda said that tourism infrastructure must be improved and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) must be decongested.
She also proposed the upgrade of other vital airports in the country, like the General Santos Airport, which is the gateway to Region 12 and even the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
“We really have to improve our airports and seaports because these are the areas where we first welcome tourists. They have a huge impact on the overall experience of visiting our country. The moment they step in, they should already feel welcome, happy and safe and they should leave our country feeling the same,” said Legarda.