Frasco envisions visitor-friendly ‘distinctly Filipino’ sea and air ports at PHL

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As the main gateway to the country, airports and seaports play a vital role in the overall tourist experience and the tourism value chain.

Department of Tourism (DOT) secretary Christina Garcia Frasco eyes making improvements to the country’s air and seaports to encapsulate the “Philippine Brand” and give tourists a good first and last impression when visiting the Philippines.

In a meeting with the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Jaime J. Bautista On Monday August 8, the head of tourism noted that as the main gateway to the country, airports and seaports play a vital role in the overall tourism experience and the tourism value chain.

The DOT, she added, is considering upgrading existing facilities in both airports and seaports by introducing improvements that will make ports more aesthetic, practical, welcoming to tourists and, above all, reflect the “Philippine brand”.

“In addition to improving convenience for travelers and tourists, the DOT is also considering putting a ‘Philippine brand’ in our ports, a good image of the Philippines that would be remembered by visitors to the country before visiting different destinations in the Philippines and long after their departure”, said Secretary Frasco.

Some of the DOT-recommended improvements include the installation of signage that will look uniform across all air and seaports, as well as the use of lighting, backdrops, and furnishings that will distinctly reflect the “Filipino brand. Frasco noted that the DOT wants “the experience to be positive for all the senses” and that there will also be interactive exhibits featuring various artists and artisans to make the airport experience extraordinary and experiential for passengers. travellers.

“Traditionally, the Ministry of Tourism has been involved in promotion and marketing only and mainly in advertisements, but this time around we wanted an unspoken manifestation of our brand as the Philippines because that’s what the President said very clearly in his SONA, that he wants us to promote the Filipino brand to the world, this is something that we would like to announce in the Philippines starting with our pride, our culture, our heritage, our identity as Filipinos. And that is why the elements of the aesthetic enhancements that we want to introduce are all made in the Philippines and uniquely Filipino,” enthused the DOT chief.

In addition to aesthetically appealing ports, the DOT is also pushing for a stress-free passenger experience with more efficient service and reduced wait times for passengers. The DOT recommends a single window for land, air, and sea connectivity with the provision of digitized service to facilitate efficiency. The Department has also engaged a tourist assistance office with trained staff to respond to visitor concerns.

Frasco also highlighted the need to provide appropriate functionality and facilities in walkways and transport hubs for people with disabilities. (People with Disabilities) as a member of Department Advocacy for Tourism without barriers. The availability of wheelchairs, elevators with disability-friendly features, clearly designated parking spaces for people with disabilities, and check-in counters with low, recessed or split-level counters that can accommodate people seated on wheelchairs were among the DOT proposals.

Meanwhile, the resumption of pre-pandemic routes has been suggested by the DOT to minimize congestion at major ports. The opening of new local and domestic routes has also been proposed by the Department given the positive development in travel conditions and demand.

“While we understand that introducing major infrastructure changes to existing airports and seaports is something that cannot be done in the short term, in response to the President’s call to improve the overall tourist experience, we have identified ways to introduce improvements that do not necessarily involve long-term actions,” added the head of tourism.

For the Airport and Seaport Improvement Program, DOT recommends Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 (NAIA-T2), Davao International Airport (DVO), and Cebu City Pier 1 as projects pilots.

The program, which will be led by DOT with support from DOTr, will be a joint partnership between the two agencies. During the meeting, Transportation Secretary Bautista accepted DOT’s proposal to create a Technical Working Group (TWG) that would oversee smooth and comprehensive facilitation of the improvement program.

“I think our experience of working with the airlines and now working with the government will now allow us to address issues and challenges and working with the Ministry of Tourism we can better improve the experience for our tourists. I am very happy that we have started this conversation and I agree that we need to discuss the details of the project more, let’s organize a working group. This is a very good collaboration between the DOT and the Department of Transportation. Make sure that this happens,” said Bautist.
In addition to its recommendation to restore identified domestic and international flights, DOT also proposes to strengthen its partnership with DOTr on the aspect of air and sea route development.

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