CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Pampanga — Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) has committed PhP1 billion for the night rating capabilities of several commercially operated airports in the country.
“TIEZA, which is the infrastructure arm of Department of Tourism (DOT), is currently working with Department of Transportation (DOTr) on the possibility of funding several airports in the country to equip them with night rating capabilities amounting to PhP1 billion. It is set for approval by the TIEZA board in their next board meeting,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat disclosed during the Institutionalized Leveraging of Infrastructure Program for Airport Development (iLIPAD) Conference 2020.
“Through your tireless efforts and dedication to develop the necessary infrastructure and improve and increase the modes of access of the Philippines, we are now beginning to reap the benefits. The nation’s tourism industry continues to soar, setting new records year after year achieving international recognition and helping countless Filipino families enjoy better lives along the way,” Romulo-Puyat told attendees composed of DOT and DOTr officials and stakeholders in the aviation industry.
As it happened during the last Holiday season for the first time ever, Philippine tourist arrivals have reached the 8 million visitor mark. “The increase in number of international arrivals means that tourism has now become an important driver of the Philippine economy,” the official furthered.
In 2018, tourism contributed to 12.7 percent of the gross domestic product equivalent to PhP2.2 trillion. It is a major source of employment as well as 5.4 million Filipinos are employed in the tourism sector which is 13% of the country’s total employment.
“These were not achieved overnight. The gains we’ve made in recent years were all made possible through RA9593 or Tourism Act of 2009. The framework through which the DOT operates today which is the National Tourism Development Plan 2016-2022 is a direct consequence of the Tourism Act,” Romulo-Puyat added.
Highlight of the conference was the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between DOT, represented by Secretary Romulo-Puyat and DOTr, represented by Secretary Arthur Tugade for the implementation of iLIPAD.
It likewise featured plenary sessions on a) Impact of Airport Development Projects on Tourism Growth, b) Updates on Airport Projects, c) Airport Development Initiatives in Support of Tourism and d) Seamless Travel Initiatives.