New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, in Manila to attend the East Asia Summit, witnessed the signing of three agreements with the Philippines on Tuesday.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that seeks to introduce non-stop flights to Auckland was signed by New Zealand tourism executive chief Stephen England-Hall and Philippine Airlines (PAL) President and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista.
“I see it as a real positive that my first major visit outside New Zealand is to Southeast Asia. New Zealand has recognized the importance of this region for more than 40 years but we have never been closer that we are today,” Ardern said.
England-Hall said New Zealand may be small in terms of land area but the country offers great food and must-see places for tourists.
“We are very excited about the new developments and see real potential of the Philippines as a source of tourism arrivals for New Zealand,” he said.
Bautista expressed confidence that the non-stop direct route would be a success.
“We’ve seen strong demand for Auckland and are excited about launching the new non-stop direct service. The new product means PAL offers the quickest and most convenient flight option between Manila and Auckland,” he said.
New Zealand also signed an MOU with the Energy department that seeks to strengthen geothermal energy cooperation between the two countries.
The third MOU was between the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) and New Zealand’s meteorology service for technology and exchange of data in a bid to achieve world-class weather intelligence reporting and weather data visualization solution for the Philippines.