The Philippines is looking at opening direct flight routes with India, in a bid to cash in on the rising thirst for outbound exotic travel among Indians. Currently, Indians wanting to fly to the 7,000-island archipelago need to transit through several hubs in between, including Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
“We are keen on exploring direct flights between India and the Philippines, which would certainly help tap the tourism potential of both nations. We are talking to several Filipino carriers to seek the best possibilities to realise this plan. We have also asked our team in India to talk to airlines here. We are hoping that by early next year, direct flights would commence,” Gerry Panga, Tourism Attache at the Department of Tourism, the Philippines, told Deccan Herald.
“We have found that countries with direct flights from India have greater growth opportunities. At present, we are looking at linking Delhi and Mumbai, with Manila,” he said, on the sidelines of the PATA Travel Mart 2015.
In 2014, around 61,000 Indians visited the Philippines, registering a growth of 17.5 per cent in inbound Indian tourists. Between January-June this year, 37,093 Indians visited the Philippines, registering a growth of 24 per cent. “By the end of this year, we expect over 65,000 Indians to visit our country, scripting a growth of around 30 per cent,” Panga said.
The country boasts of three-day visa clearance for Indian travelers. Last year, the Philippines unveiled a friendly visa policy wherein Indians with valid multiple-entry visas to the US, the UK, Europe, Japan and Canada, could visit the country for 21 days.
Source: Hrithik Kiran Bagade, http://www.deccanherald.com