The Tourism Department is pushing for a new round of air talks with the United Arab Emirates despite objections from Philippine carriers.
“We’re inclined to give in to that. To be fair, they [local airlines] don’t oppose it, they just have [a] point of view of how many [flight entitlements], but nobody is opposing air talks per se,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. told reporters Monday.
Jimenez said the Philippine air panel was in the final stages of preparing for serious discussions with UAE.
The Philippine air services negotiating panel is composed of officials from the Civil Aeronautics Board, Departments of Transportation and Communications, Foreign Affairs and Tourism, as well as from Clark International Airport Corp. and local airline companies.
“They [Dubai and Abu Dhabi] are a crucial connector destination to Europe, so that’s very important from overseas Filipino worker standpoint and European market standpoint,” Jimenez said.
Emirates Airlines requested for new air talks between the Philippines and UAE after Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific opposed the extension of Emirates’ third daily flights between Manila and Dubai.
The CAB also penalized Emirates for selling tickets beyond what its flight entitlements for the Manila-Dubai route allowed.
The Philippine-UAE agreement provides for a maximum of 14 weekly frequencies for the Middle Eastern country’s flag carrier.
Government data show over 700,000 Filipinos are working in the UAE.
Meanwhile, the Tourism Department announced a new batch of hotels, resorts, and various industries that would receive skills development grants to make their services more competitive and attractive to foreign and domestic tourists.
The agency said 22 local tourism enterprises and industry associations were poised to benefit from the Tourism Industry Skills Grant Scheme, which forms part of the Philippine Improving Competitiveness in Tourism project being administered by the Asian Development Bank and funded by the government of Canada.
Launched in 2013, the $1.7 million technical assistance was designed to support the Philippine government’s effort to achieve inclusive growth and create employment opportunities in tourism.