THE Philippines plans to hold air talks with India, Papua New Guinea and Switzerland this year to expand air traffic rights, the Civil Aeronautics Board said over the weekend.
CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla said the Philippine air panel would finalize the dates for the separate air talks with the three countries.
The Philippine negotiating panel is composed of officials from the CAB, Departments of Transportation, Tourism and Foreign Affairs, as well as from Clark International Airport Corp. and representatives of local airline companies.
"The most critical is India because its a big market," Arcilla said.
Philippine Airlines earlier filed with the CAB for the resumption of flights to India, while Air Asia and Cebu Pacific filed for flight entitlements to India.
Data from the Department of Tourism showed that the number of tourists from India rose 18.3 percent to 107,278 visitors last year from 90,816 visitors in 2016.
Arcilla added the Philippine air panel would also hold separate air talks with Papua New Guinea and Switzerland in the coming months.
The number of visitors from Switzerland to the Philippines last year, according to DoT, reached 29,837 from 29,420 visitors in 2016. Papua New Guinea visitors rose 4.8 percent to 8,110 last year from 7,738 in 2016.
The top markets for the Philippines are South Korea with 1.60 million, followed by China, 968,447; United States of America, 957,813; Japan, 584,180; Australia, 259,433; Canada, 200,640; United Kingdom,182,708; Singapore, 168,637 and Malaysia, 143,566.
Other high-growth markets include Hong Kong, 111,135; New Zealand, 28,983; Germany, 85,431; France, 64, 777; Saudi Arabia, 54,716 and Netherlands, 33,821.