Airports get 'makeover' to attract more tourists

By Alexander Villafania

DAVAO CITY, DAVAO DEL SUR—Hoping to improve the image of the Philippines’ tourism industry, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) is set to upgrade the country’s international airports.

In a statement during the first Equator Asia Air Access Forum in Davao City, DOTC Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla said that the upgrading of the international airports is pegged on the agency’s target of 10 million foreign tourists and 30 million domestic travelers over the next four years.

Among the airports that will be upgraded in the coming months is the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1, which receives P1.16 billion. Two other recipients are the Davao International Airport, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

DOTC has also allocated another P500 million for security screening equipment in all of the country’s 45 commercial airports.

They are also building a new airport worth P4.46 billion in Puerto Princesa in Palawan, as well as the P7.8 billion Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro City in anticipation of tourism in the islands.

Plans are underway to build another international airport in Bohol and the P3 billion New Legaspi Airport.

Tourism in the Philippines has steadily grown in the past few years, owing it to massive tourism campaigns.

According to the Department of Tourism (DOT), for 2011, there were 3.7 million international visitors, a 12.7 percent increase over 2010.

The tourism department also ranks South Koreans as the largest group of international visitors at 925,204 people, followed by Americans with 624,527, and Japanese at 375,496. Chinese come fourth with 243,137 visitors last year, Taiwanese with 181,734 visitors, and Australian with 170,736.

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