Aquino raises foreign tourist arrivals to 6.8M next year

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III set Thursday a higher target of 6.8 million foreign tourist arrivals for next year after the European Union lifted the ban on Philippine carriers.

In a speech during the courtesy call of the 8th Ambassadors, Consul General, and Tourism Directors’ Tour delegates in Malacanang, the Chief Executive said that Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. agreed to increase the foreign tourist arrivals for next year from the 5.5 million goal for this year.

"Of course, we are always looking to improve on our performance, and so we have decided to put just a little bit more pressure on Secretary Jimenez," he said.

Aside from the target foreign tourists for next year, Aquino said that he also adjusted the domestic tourism target for 2016 to 56.1 million after achieving 37.5 million local travelers in 2011.

"Just a slight increase in pressure (to Jimenez). I am glad to say that this is a challenge that he has graciously accepted," he said.

The President lauded the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) for its "stunning progress" to remove the Philippines from the EU air safety watch list.

"It began back in March with the International Civil Aviation Organization lifting the Significant Safety Concerns that they had previously identified in our country. This led to the very good news we received just yesterday: that the Air Safety Committee of the European Commission has allowed our flag carrier—Philippine Airlines—to resume direct flights to Europe," he said.

"CAAP has achieved one of its major goals, and I extend my full gratitude and congratulations to its head General (William) Hotchkiss and all who worked to make this possible. Hopefully, this development will give them the extra energy they need to pursue all our other goals in the aviation sector," Aquino added. (SDR/Sunnex)

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