Manila, Philippines — More spacious and modern airports are on the pipeline to accommodate the soaring tourist arrivals in the country.
The government is eyeing the construction of budget terminals as well as upgrade of airports in popular tourist destinations to provide better service to travelers in the country, according to President Benigno S. Aquino III.
The President acknowledged that the government facilities must keep up with the increasing tourism traffic following his inspection of Metro Manila’s transportation hubs, including the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminals 3 and 4 last Wednesday, for the Holy Week exodus of travelers.
“There are plans on what to do if we will push through with the construction of budget terminals. We are just waiting for the study because Terminal 4 is really small,” the President said in Filipino during a stopover at the North Harbor in Manila last Wednesday.
“While the tourist arrivals are increasing, the economy is growing and there are more opportunities for our countrymen to travel. Government facilities must also improve. That is what we’re working on,” Aquino said. “We just want to make sure the right facilities are in the right places,” he added.
The Department of Transportation and Communications earlier proposed the establishment of budget terminals for NAIA and Clark airport to cater to low-cost carriers. If the terminals are built, NAIA’s passenger capacity could reportedly expand by around 10 million passengers while Clark’s capacity to 4.5 million a year.
The President also said the government wants to improve the airports outside Metro Manila, adding that many travelers prefer to fly directly to their destination instead of passing through NAIA. Among these provincial airports are those in Bohol, Caticlan, Daraga, Laguindingan and Puerto Princesa.
Aquino also sought the swift completion of the remaining rehabilitation works in NAIA terminal 3 by the Japanese contractor.
Other transportation plans, Aquino said, are the improvement of the airport facility in Clark, Pampanga as well as the possible construction of a railway system connecting Clark to Metro Manila.
The President maintained that the government is on track on attaining the target of 10 million foreign tourist arrivals by 2016. He noted that tourist arrivals increased to five million last year from three million in 2010.
The government, on the other hand, targets 56.1 million domestic tourists before Aquino’s term ends in 2016.