Saturday, May 18, 2024

President Marcos Eyes Restoration Of Philippines-New Zealand Air Links To Boost Tourism

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President Marcos Eyes Restoration Of Philippines-New Zealand Air Links To Boost Tourism

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The restoration of air links between the Philippines and New Zealand will help increase two-way tourism and trade between the two countries, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Tuesday.

In a meeting with newly-designated New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines Catherine Rosemary McIntosh in Malacañang, Marcos said the two countries’ respective regulators and carriers should discuss the idea of reestablishing direct air links.

“Filipinos would love to go to New Zealand. And I do believe that New Zealanders would like to see the Philippines as well,” Marcos said, as quoted in a Presidential Communications Office (PCO) news release.

“So, I think that’s another area of interest that we should explore and hope to promote in your stay here,” he added.

McIntosh was presenting her letter of credence to the President, an important official ceremony that officially marks a new ambassador’s duty as the representative of a nation.

Marcos said both countries should encourage connectivity given the economic transformation the Philippines is carrying out.

He also bared the government’s plan to improve accessibility and mobility in and out of the country through smaller regional airports.

“We really are quite full. We need two new airports. We are in the process of building them but for now, I think the way to go is to provide access to the smaller regional airports, which are close to or within the tourist destination,” the President said.

“But then there’s the business [passengers] too and we are also trying to decongest Manila,” he said.

For her part, McIntosh said it would be great to have direct air service from Manila to New Zealand restored, noting the volume of Philippine-bound passengers traveling via Sydney, Australia.

“But a significant proportion of the Sydney to Manila passengers actually comes from New Zealand first. It’s a good proportion that I think we can make it commercially viable,” she said.

Marcos also raised the need for the countries in the Indo-Pacific region to “speak together” and at the very least come to a clear understanding of their concerns and adherence to the value systems and international law.

All smaller countries must really bond together and “just make sure that the continuing freedom of navigation and trade in the region is safeguarded,” he said. (PNA)