PIONEERING flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific Airways will continue to cooperate with the Department of Tourism (DOT), led by new Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo Teo, on the marketing and promotion of the Philippines.
PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime Bautista expressed the airline’s support to Teo at an intimate dinner he hosted for the new DOT chief and her team at the Century Park Hotel.
In his brief remarks, Bautista acknowledged Teo’s appointment as a “very important post,” adding that the airline is committed to help the DOT “achieve its tourism growth target for the country, as we transport people, cargo, mount new flights to spur travel, and modernize our fleet, to increase passenger capacity.”
He wished Teo good tidings in her new leadership role, heading a department he described as “most vital in serving an industry considered as one of the nation’s key economic drivers.”
Last year PAL flew almost 12 million passengers, 25 percent higher than the 9.6 million in 2014.
Bautista said he has known Teo, a successful travel agent in Davao, who later became president of the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies, for quite some time.
In a press statement, Teo, addressing the PAL dinner participants, said: “Tourism is a shared responsibility between your government and the tourism stakeholders.
“However big or small, we all have important roles to play in making tourism our country’s sunshine industry. And there is no better time to pitch in your share to this momentum in tourism than now, as change has come.”
In a separate event at the Manila Diamond Hotel, Cebu Pacific (CEB) also renewed its commitment to the DOT and to Secretary Teo’s mandate to double visitor arrivals by 2022.
Candice Iyog, the airline’s vice president for marketing and distribution, said the DOT is “no stranger to CEB,” as they’ve had a long-standing partnership.
“The DOT has been there since day one,” Iyog said, citing the agency’s important role in helping the carrier fulfill its mission to “highlight travel to and within the Philippines.”
The CEB executive said she was looking forward to the continued partnership with the DOT, specifically in long-term planning, closely coordinating and actively coordinating with its regional offices.
Iyog added that she is hoping to work with the new DOT administration in advancing the country’s interest in its priority markets, including Australia, Japan, China, Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong.
“Access to real-time market data, such as inbound and outbound travel statistics, market profile and customer segments” is crucial to CEB in aligning its efforts and campaigns in the different international markets, she explained.
As the airline expands its fleet to fly “where Filipinos are” and to entice more foreign visitors to come to the Philippines, “we also expect the DOT will continue in giving us more of those island connections that would, in turn, help us expand our network and reach across the Philippines and within the region,” she added.
CEB flew 18.4 million passengers in 2015, up 9 percent from some 17 million flown in 2014.
The DOT chief said earlier she would be meeting with different industry stakeholders, such as travel and tour organizations, associations, local government executives, the accommodation and transportation sectors, to find out what their problems are and how the agency could help them.
Teo, likewise, said these meetings will reinforce their commitments to help DOT achieve its tourism targets in terms of domestic and foreign visitor arrivals, tourism receipts and employment.