PH tourism to get a boost with more international airports, improved roads — Marcos

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 25) — President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. wants to beef up the tourism sector, one of the industries most affected by the COVID pandemic, with more international airports and road improvements.

During his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday at the Batasang Pambansa, Marcos acknowledged the sector's important role in the country's economy.

"It is not only an important economic development tool but the abundance of opportunities that the sector creates in terms of regular employment and even job creation at a grassroots level is undeniable," Marcos said.

To entice more travelers, the President said that aside from improving roads leading to tourist destinations, his administration would also focus on creating more international air hubs to decongest the main gateway in Manila, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

"We will first and foremost make basic developments such as road improvements for easier access to tourism spots. We will also upgrade our airports and create more international airports to help decongest the bottleneck in the Manila airport," he said.

"We will also make it more convenient for travelers to go around the country, even to remote areas, to help promote undiscovered tourist spots," Marcos added.

Airlines bullish on operations under Marcos admin

Local air carriers expressed optimism about overcoming COVID turbulence under the new administration after Marcos bared his plan to construct more airports.

In a statement, flag carrier Philippine Airlines believes the target could trigger positive domino effects.

"The construction of new international airports will help boost tourism targets, generate economic growth, and create employment opportunities in the aviation, travel and tourism industries. New access roads will help these economic benefits to flow into local communities. As industry stakeholders, we welcome and support these plans announced by President Marcos in his State of the Nation Address," said Stanley K. Ng, PAL President and COO.

AirAsia Philippines, meanwhile, said it supports the new government's planned infrastructure development.

"This will help airlines such as AirAsia remain aggressive and competitive in the domestic and international air travel and cargo industry as we serve a greater number of Filipino travelers and Overseas Filipino Workers," said Steve Dailisan, AirAsia Philippines spokesperson.