The Department of Tourism (DOT) together with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Holy Tuesday (Apr. 4) conducted an inspection at the NAIA Terminal 2, ahead of the approaching long weekend holiday in line with the observance of Holy Week 2023.
Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco and Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista made rounds at the NAIA T2 domestic arrival and departure areas, with the objective of inspecting the enhancements so far introduced to the terminal, which is one of the identified pilot areas for the DOT-DOTr airport enhancement convergence program.
The airport enhancement program is being implemented as part of the DOT’s main objectives, particularly, the Enhancement of the Overall Tourist Experience which includes streamlining of entry restrictions to the Philippines, liberalization of health and safety protocols, and discussions on visa reforms for the convenience of visitors.
Explaining the DOT’s implementation of Filipino-themed enhancements to the interiors of NAIA Terminal 2 which it has undertaken with the support of its attached agency, the Tourism Infrastructure Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), Secretary Frasco said, “Unang una po, sa simula pa lang ng administrasyon ng ating Presidente na si President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr., yung direktiba po talaga niya is to enhance the overall tourist experience. At alam naman po natin na ang first and last impression ng ating mga turista ay nasa ating mga airports at ating mga seaports. Kaya naman po nagpapasalamat din po ako kay Secretary Jimmy Bautista, sa Department of Transportation, kasi gumawa tayo ng isang convergence program kung saan nag identify tayo ng gateways na bibigyan natin ng Filipino touch.”
Aesthetic improvements that are apparent to the NAIA Terminal 2 include the introduction Filipino elements through the use of solihiya panels on walls, as well as furniture and lamps all made by local artisans.
“The effort is to give tourists and travelers alike a reminder of how beautiful our country is and how talented our Filipino workers are as can clearly be seen in all the furniture that have been installed in this terminal,” the tourism chief said.
“Kaya sana naman po sa pamamagitan ng mga improvements na ito, [na unang una,] mabigyan ng reminder ang ating mga kababayang Pilipino of how good it is to be a Filipino. To live in a country that is not only beautiful, but also populated by very talented Filipino artisans,” she added.
Likewise, airport assistance desks at both arrival and departure areas of the NAIA T2 have been enhanced through the use of local materials. Plants, murals, charging stations and mini-gardens have also been introduced at strategic areas in the terminal.
“This is the ‘Filipinization’ of our airports where we brand it and we stamp it the best of the best of the Philippines,” the tourism chief added.
“We want to see the new decorations in Terminal 2. It is part of our joint project with the Department of Tourism. MIAA, DOTr, and DOT with these new designs which were designed and also funded by the Department of Tourism. So gusto namin makita,” said Secretary Bautista of their joint inspection.
In addition to physical improvements to the NAIA T2, Secretary Frasco noted that the DOT convergence with the DOTr aims to bring comfort to passengers, especially on busy travel periods including the long holiday that falls during the Holy Week.
To recall, Secretary Frasco announced that the Department anticipates the full recovery of domestic tourism this year. The Secretary noted that the influx of local tourists will be critical in attaining the industry’s pre-pandemic numbers which she said the DOT foresees to reach 100 percent this year.
“That means no less than 122 million domestic trips including the volume that we anticipate would arrive during the holy week,” Secretary Frasco noted.
According to DOTr Secretary Bautista, around 2 million passengers are expected to travel into and from the airports throughout the course of the long weekend.
The Transportation Secretary assured that the DOTr, the DOT, and management of the MIAA Management have partnered on a program that will ensure a smooth passenger flow at the airport throughout the Holy Week break.
Joining the two Secretaries are Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Cesar Chiong, Philippine Airlines (PAL) President and COO Captain Stanley Ng, NAIA T2 Terminal Manager Sean Sunga, MIAA-Public Affairs Office (PAO) Manager Connie Bungag, and DOT Undersecretaries and officials.
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