Philippines, Most Liberalized Air Access

2011 WEF Report debunks call for more liberalized air policy

September 30, 2011

The Philippines is listed as one of the most liberalized air access in the world according to the fourth Travel & Tourism (T&T) Competitiveness Report 2011 of the World Economic Forum (WEF) at the Global Tourism Forum 2011 (GTF) held in Andorra. 

Competitiveness Report hidden by Tourism Department
The Competitiveness Report ranked the Philippines at number 29 out of 139 countries in terms of “Openness of bilateral Air Service Agreements.”

“Open skies advocates have been harping on the need for full open skies to attract more tourists but in reality we have already a very liberalized air policy” says Robert Lim Joseph, founder of TourismWatch Philippines.

" If the Philippines is number 29 in terms of openness, why do tourists still not come in droves like Thailand, Malaysia or Indonesia? "quips Joseph.

It said proponents of Open Skies for the Philippines needs to look at the data provided by Geneva based Non-Profit Organization to know the real score of what the country already offers in terms of air access by foreign carriers.

The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2011 measures and analyzes the drivers of T&T competitiveness in economies around the world. Its main goal is to provide a useful tool for governments and business leaders in overcoming the obstacles to T&T competitiveness, in order to benefit fully from the sector’s development.  

“This all proves that the poor performance of our tourism sector is not about accessibility to Philippine air market and availability of airline seats but other factors,” Joseph said.

The Philippines ranks number 30 out of 139 countries in terms of “Available seat kilometers, international.”
For ticket taxes and airport charges, the Philippines ranked 20 in the world out of 139 countries “so we cannot understand the rantings of the lobbyists to cancel our taxes on foreign carriers when this is not the issue.”

According to the report, tourists hesitate to visit the Philippines based on the following findings:

-The Philippines ranks 112 in terms of quality of air transport infrastructure; 
-The Philippines ranks 99 in terms of effectiveness of marketing and branding; 
-The Philippines ranks 132 in terms of hotel rooms; 
-The Philippines ranks 123 in terms of transparency of government policymaking;
-The Philippines ranks 105 in terms of reliability of police services; 
-The Philippines ranks 109 in terms of safety and security; 
-The Philippines ranks 114 in terms of quality of roads (specially to tourist destinations), and 
-The Philippines ranks 70 in terms of government prioritization of the travel and tourism industry.

"These are the factors that the government should look into and address to boost tourism and not the lousy open skies argument as other would like us to believe." says Joseph about the transparent report.
In this year's report findings, Switzerland, Germany and France have the most attractive environments for developing the travel and tourism industry, followed by Austria, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Spain and Singapore completing the top 10.

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