CEBU CITY: The governments of Turkey and the Philippines have agreed, after a closed door meeting, to schedule additional flights to accommodate an increase in exchange of tourists between the two countries.
After a two-day air talks in Cebu City, both parties agreed that the frequency of flights be improved from three to fourteen while other destination points in the Philippines have been identified.
“We see Turkey as a very important, lucrative and good market for the Philippines,” Department of Tourism (DOT) Undersecretary Benito Bengzon expresses.
The current air pact grants Turkish carriers to have three frequencies per week to Manila and Clark. Pursuant to that, there are currently thrice-weekly flights between Manila and Istanbul.
Turkish Airlines was launched in the country last March 30 while air service agreements between the two countries started last 2009.
Turkey, which is strategically located in the crossroads of Asia, Europe and Africa, is approximately 11 hours and 50 minutes by air from Manila.
Last year, there were close to 5,000 tourists from Turkey. The DOT has expressed confidence that with the support of industry partners, tourist arrival is expected to double in the next couple of years.
“This is a good way of sharing tourism with another country,” Undersecretary Bengzon adds.
The data from the tourism department shows that there is a 19-percent increase of Turkish tourists from 2012 to 2013. The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, on the other hand, recorded more than 3,500 tourists from the Philippines in 2014.
“We all know that Cebu is a very strong tourist destination. The next step is that we have to show the Turkish airlines the travel and tour opportunities here,” Undersecretary Bengzon explains.
The Turkish Airlines has previously expressed expectations to leverage on renewed global interest in the Philippines with the country’s impressive economic growth.