The Philippines wants to hold air talks with at least five countries this year, according to the Civil Aeronautics Board.
CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla said the Philippine air panel planned to hold air talks with Japan, South Korea, India, Canada and Papua New Guinea.
The Philippine air services negotiating panel is composed of officials from CAB, Transportation, Tourism and Foreign Departments, Clark International Airport Corp. and representatives of local airline companies.
Arcilla said local carriers wanted to expand their operations in these five markets.
Philippines Air Asia and Cebu Pacific earlier applied with CAB to fly to India. Philippine Airlines also wants to expand operations to South Korea, Japan and Canada.
“We are using the good offices of the Department of Foreign Affairs so that our foreign offices, the ambassadors can help us make representations with our counterparts in our target countries,” Arcilla said.
“Hopefully, by the second quarter we could have something,” he said.
The country’s air talks are aligned with the priority of the government to attract more foreign tourists.
The Tourism Department targets 12 million foreign tourist arrivals by 2022. Last year, the Philippines attracted 5.97 million foreign tourists, up 11.31 percent from 5.36 million arrivals in 2015.
The top source of arrivals was South Korea with 1.4 million, followed by the United States with 869,463 visitor arrivals, China with 675,663, Japan with 535,238 arrivals, Australia with 251,098 and Taiwan with 229,303 visitors.
Completing the top ten visitor markets were Singapore with 176,057 arrivals, Canada with 175,631, the United Kingdom with 173,299 and Malaysia with 139,133. Hong Kong and India claimed the 11th and 12th spots, respectively.