NZ sees di­rect flights in­creas­ing vis­i­tor num­bers up to 60%

Business World - - THE ECONOMY - Pa­trizia Paola C. Marcelo

THE New Zealand gov­ern­ment said it ex­pects di­rect flights to boost vis­i­tor ar­rivals be­tween the Philip­pines and New Zealand by as much as 60%.

“We ex­pect that this will grow to more than 20% to 60%… We see a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the next 12 months,” Stephen Eng­land-Hall, chief ex­ec­u­tive of New Zealand’s tourism depart­ment, said in a news con­fer­ence yes­ter­day.

Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern wit­nessed the sign­ing of the mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MoU) be­tween Philip­pine Air­lines (PAL) and Tourism New Zealand. Ms. Ardern is in Manila for the 31st As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (ASEAN) Sum­mit.

Tourism New Zealand said that more than 22,780 Filipinos vis­ited New Zealand in the year to Au­gust, up 29%, due to “an emerg­ing mid­dle class and im­proved air­line con­nec­tiv­ity.”

Ms. Ardern said in her speech: “Auck­land air­port has es­ti­mated that new non­stop flight will in­ject $6 mil­lion into the New Zealand econ­omy... I am cer­tain that reg­u­lar and con­ve­nient air links will en­able greater peo­ple-to-peo­ple and com­mer­cial links be­tween our coun­tries.”

New Zealand con­sid­ers the Philip­pines to be an emerg­ing mar­ket, and is tar­get­ing fam­i­lies of over­seas Filipino work­ers (OFWs) and mi­grants in New Zealand, stu­dents, as well as tourists seek­ing out New Zealand’s nat­u­ral at­trac­tions.

Flag car­rier PAL will be launch­ing in De­cem­ber thrice-a-week di­rect flights from Manila to Auck­land. Cur­rently, the flag car­rier flies to Auck­land via Cairns, Aus­tralia.

PAL Pres­i­dent Jaime J. Bautista said that if the mar­ket con­tin­ues to de­velop, the air­line can in­crease the fre­quency to five times a week.

The Philip­pines and New Zealand also signed MoUs on co­op­er­a­tion in the ar­eas of en­ergy and me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal sciences.

The Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs, rep­re­sented by New Zealand Am­bas­sador to the Philip­pines David Stra­chan, and the Depart­ment of En­ergy (DoE) signed an MoU to en­hance co­op­er­a­tion in the ar­eas of geother­mal and hy­dro­elec­tric power.

DoE Sec­re­tary Al­fonso G. Cusi told re­porters that co­op­er­a­tion in­cludes ex­changes of in­for­ma­tion and train­ing.

New Zealand’s Met­Ser­vice and the Philip­pine At­mo­spheric, Geo­phys­i­cal, and As­tro­nom­i­cal Ser­vices Ad­min­is­tra­tion (PAGASA) signed an MoU on ex­changes of data. —

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