Philippine Airlines Returns to Saudi Arabia


The resumption of the Philippine Airlines’ Manila-Riyadh and Manila-Dammam flights has received positive response, with most flights in December 2013 already fully booked, the Philippine Embassy said in a press statement.

“We are very happy to welcome the Philippine Airlines back to Saudi Arabia, with today’s flights to and from Riyadh and on 3 December to and from Dhahran,” the statement quoted Ambassador Ezzedin H. Tago as saying on Sunday during the ceremonial ribbon cutting of the Philippine carrier’s return.

Tago, together with PAL and Saudi immigration officials, was at Terminal 1 of the King Khalid International Airport on Sunday to welcome the passengers and the crew on board the first PAL flight non-stop Manila-Riyadh-Manila on Sunday. He led the ribbon cutting ceremony along with Otham Al Zamil, director for operations and fire service, and Ali Al Rashid, airport manager for terminal operations.

The twin-engine Airbus 330-300 with flight number PR 564 was operated by Captain Jose Reginald David, assisted by Captain Ruel V. Isaac and Second Officer Erik Lee Isaac landed at KKIA at 2:01PM carrying 376 passengers from Manila.

The return flight of PR 655 was fully booked with 391 passengers and departed at 3 p.m. Sunday. On Tuesday, PAL will make its inaugural flight at the King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, Eastern Province. PAL first started flying to and from Saudi Arabia on July 3, 1982, landing in Dhahran International Airport and eventually had flights to and from Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah until 2001 when the airlines was hit by a crippling pilots’ and ground crew strike.

Filipinos in the western side of the Kingdom, meanwhile, are asking why PAL has not restored its Manila-Jeddah-Manila flight.
PAL has yet to issue a statement on the matter, but industry sources say the airline did not get sufficient booking for the year, unlike in Riyadh and Dammam.

Ambassador Tago said he was hoping that the return of the Philippine Airlines to the Kingdom “will restore further interest in the Philippines among Saudi tourists and provide a more familiar travel option to our kababayans (nationals) in Saudi Arabia.”
Tourism to the Philippines from Saudi Arabia has increased steadily over the past three years, with the Philippines increasing its tourism promotion activities in the Gulf region and specially Saudi Arabia.

Flights from Riyadh will leave every Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 1:30 p.m. The flights from Dammam will leave every Monday, Tuesday and Saturday.

PAL’s general services agent in Riyadh is Al-Tayyar Travel, while it is Kanoo Travel in Dammam.


Philippines Target More Saudi Tourists





The catchy “It’s more fun in the Philippines” promotional scheme launched by Philippine Airlines (PAL) to attract tourists seems to be paying off, particularly with PAL poised to resume flights to the Kingdom beginning in December.

The number of tourist arriving from Saudi Arabia is expected to go up dramatically with PAL scheduled to operate flights to and from Riyadh starting Dec. 1 and to and from Dammam on Dec. 4. PAL has also thrown in incentives for those who book on or before the scheduled dates to lure tourists from the Kingdom.

The turnaround can be attributed to the current administration’s performance in terms of economic recovery and good governance restoring confidence not only among investors but also tourist

s visiting the country from across the world, said Datu Camad M. Ali, executive president, Southern Philippines Muslim-Non Muslim Unity & Development Association Inc. (SPMUDA), an International NGO based in the Philippines promoting Philippine tourism through its global network.

According to the Tourism Research and Statistics Division (TRSD) at the Philippine Tourism Department (DOT), visitor arrivals in January to March reached a record high of 1.27 million, including 30,000 from Saudi Arabia, a 10.76 percent increase from 1.15 million arrivals for the corresponding period in 2012.

Likewise, visitor arrivals for March saw a double-digit increase of 11.28 percent with 417,392 visitors compared to the previous year’s volume of 375,083. This is the fourth consecutive month that the volume of arrivals passed the 400,000 mark.

This upward trend could be attributed to the upcoming summer season, which is a peak season for the tourism industry.

This is the second time under Benigno S. Aquino’s administration that the tourism sector has been able to maintain 1 million arrivals for the first quarter of the year, Ali told Arab News.

Based on this record, the country could reach its annual tourists ar

rival target of 5.5 million by the end of 2013. The same report showed that South Korea remains the leading tourist destination followed by the United States.

The “It’s more fun in the Philippines” program has shown a positive outcome in the tourism sector that actively promoted nature and adventure, beaches, multi-culture, lifestyle and water sports activities in the country.

The country’s tourism agency for the first time participated in the 5th Riyadh Travel Fair 2013 that took place in April. Manila had allocated 13 billion pesos to develop what it calls “Tourism Roads” all over the country. The Philippines is the third largest English-speaking country in the world. It has a rich history combining Asian, European and American influences. Prior to Spanish colonization in 1521, the Filipinos had a rich culture and were trading with the Chinese and the Japanese.

Spain’s colonization brought about the construction of Intramuros in 1571, a “Walled City” comprising European buildings and churches, replicated in different parts of the archipelago.

In 1898, after 350 years and 300 rebellions, the Filipinos, with leaders like Jose Rizal and Emilio Aguinaldo, succeeded in winning their independence