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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 10, 2017

We Can Never Expect Foreign Tourists To Flock To Our Country Unless First We Improve Our Airports And Our Horrible Traffic Situation

WE CAN’T HELP but laugh sardonically every time we read the government’s efforts to attract more tourists from abroad and they’re even spending millions of pesos for campaigns directed to foreigners so we can be at par with other countries like Thailand and Singapore where tourism is so successful.
We can never achieve their success in the tourism industry as long as basic services here in our country are below standard. Let’s start with our airport. Each time we take a plane, whether for domestic or international travel, we almost always encounter delays. The last time we went to Tacloban, we were stranded in the runway for more than one hour because of heavy air traffic. The time we spent while waiting for our plane to take off was actually longer than the travel time to Tacloban.

The same thing happened on our way back to Manila. Before we can touch down, our plane was going around and around in circles for more than half an hour, again due to heavy air traffic. And when we finally landed, the heavy traffic from the airport to our home is even more horrifying. It took us four and a half hours to get home from Paranaque to Quezon City.

When we went to Boracay, we landed at the Kalibo Airport and learned that this is now an international airport because planes coming in from Korea and China land here directly, without the foreign tourists passing through Manila. The problem is the Kalibo airport is so small and there are so many foreign planes coming in and out that all the passengers are crowded inside the arrival and departure areas like sardines. And it’s so hot inside that everyone is really sweating and huffing and puffing.

We heard some tourists saying they will never come back here again and we’re not surprised. Why would you when the airports in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan are so much more efficient and comfortable? So scrap all those plans for tourism ads and improve our infrastructure first before enticing foreign tourists to come and visit us!