Promoting the Philippines

posted on 1st December 2022
Promoting the Philippines

Bringing a touch of the Philippines, the archipelagic country of 7,641 islands in Southeast Asia, to the Routes show floor was the Department of Tourism and GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC).
GMR Megawide operates Mactan Cebu International Airport, the gateway to the Visayas and Mindanao regions in the Philippines and the second-busiest airport in the country. The airport company is a partnership between Megawide Construction Corporation of the Philippines and India’s GMR Infrastructure.
Since the pandemic, “We are happy with our domestic recovery, which we hope to have recovered back to 100% by the end of 2022, but we are not happy enough with our international recovery,” said Aines Librodo, Head of Airline Marketing and Tourism Development at GMCAC.
Whilst passengers are returning from East Asia and Japan, encouraged by the more lenient and relaxed restrictions throughout Asia, the European markets have not returned in full, and GMCAC aims to target these for 2023. Overall, it hopes to “restore our international travel to 70% next year depending on the return of Chinese markets” – which used to make up a hefty 40% of Mactan Cebu’s volumes, said Librodo.
Rodanta ‘Inaki’ Ponio Jr, Manager of Airline Marketing and Tourism Development at GMCAC, highlighted the friendly hospitality, smiley population and English-speaking communities that are attracting tourists. He mentioned the wide variety of attractions tourists can enjoy, from nightlife, nature and adventure trips, to heritage sites – and of course the “best beaches”.
As traffic returns, the Philippines is seeing different travel trends compared to pre-Covid times. “We are seeking new markets in the wake of the change after the pandemic. Americans are getting tired of Bali and Thailand,” said Ponio with a cheeky smile.
At Routes the focus was on reinstating previous routes, especially the all-important European flights, but there is “the need to diversify our markets to be less dependent on North Asia”, said Ponio. To do this GMCAC is hoping to increase the presence of charter carriers and other new arrivals such as TUI, LOT Polish Airlines, Icelandair and others.
Like various other south-east Asian airports, Mactan Cebu has a generous incentive programme including discounts in landing fees of up to 100% for long-haul services for the first 24 months (depending on aircraft size and length of travel time), while narrowbody daily flights can benefit from a 95% discount.