THE Department of Tourism (DoT) and the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said they are looking to harmonize policy that will determine priorities for airport development.
During the DoT-DoTr Convergence Conference on Airport Development held at Makati Shangri-La on Monday, Tourism Undersecretary Arturo P. Boncato, Jr. said the government intends to strengthen tourism by undertaking formal coordination with various stakeholders.
“Our target output…is to have a joint department order of DoT and DoTr providing policy directions and guidelines in implementing the prioritization criteria for tourism airport project timelines,” he said during the program.
The conference gathered representatives from the two departments, attached agencies and executives from the private sector, including Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, AirAsia, AirJuan, Skyjet and Airswift.
Mr. Boncato told reporters on the sidelines of the event that the DoT and DoTr have long been communicating to streamline their efforts, but the conference aims to formalize their working arrangements.
“We’ve been talking since day one. But this is our first formal meeting and this will lead to a formal agreement between both departments, of course led by our secretaries — (Transportation) Secretary (Arthur P.) Tugade and (Tourism) Secretary (Bernadette Romulo-)Puyat, to agree on the criteria in terms of prioritizing and developing primary and secondary airports,” he said.
Mr. Boncato noted that the DoTr needs to consider the DoT’s input in developing airports, as that department has the data to help determine which areas promise the best economic return.
“[W]e would show them market trends. When tourists come to the Philippines, where do they exactly want to go? Do they want to go to an island, to a mountain, to the north, to the south? So this is very important information that we can share with the DoTr that could help them prioritize the development of airports,” he said.
“That’s why the program is about both the development, like helping airports grow, and prioritization, which ones to go first in terms of development, that would give the greatest impact to tourism growth,” he added. — Denise A. Valdez