The Philippine tourism and transportation officials have gathered to strengthen the tourism infrastructure convergence programme to boost the country’s tourism industry with enhanced tourism infrastructure and increased connectivity. During the conference, a Memorandum of Agreement (“MoA”) titled Institutionalized Leveraging of Infrastructure Program has been signed between the Philippine Department of Tourism (“DOT”) and the Department of Transportation (“DOTr”). The MoA will see both parties joining efforts to boost airport and route development programmes. According to the tourism chief, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (“TIEZA”), the implementing agency and infrastructure arm of the DOT, is currently working with the DOTr on the possibility of funding several domestic airports, to equip them with night-rating capabilities in order to enhance aviation safety. The funds are expected to amount to PHP1 billion (USD19.6 million) and subjected to approval by the TIEZA Board. Other efforts to boost Philippines’ tourism infrastructure and connectivity include the construction of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, the Bohol-Panglao International Airport, and a new international airport in Daraga, Albay. Expansion plans for Davao, Iloilo, Kalibo, Puerto Princesa and Laguindingan international airports are also underway.
Malaysia Airlines Berhad (“MAB”) and Japan Airlines Company Limited (“JAL”) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to launch a joint venture on routes between their countries in 2020 after gaining approval from regulators. The two carriers have an existing codeshare agreement before the joint venture application as members of the Oneworld Alliance, and the latest authorisations will allow much closer cooperation in areas such as scheduling, capacity, sales and marketing, and revenue planning. Moving forward, MAB announced its intention to form a closer partnership with Singapore Airlines this year, and signed a codeshare deal with British Airways. Malaysia Airlines currently flies twelve times a week between Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo, while Japan Airlines flies the route once per day. Malaysia Airlines also operates daily Kuala Lumpur-Osaka and twice weekly Kota Kinabalu-Tokyo services.
India’s Ministry of Tourism released its year-end review with key tourism statistics as well as a synopsis of the key developments in the sector and Ministry initiatives during the year. In 2019, the Ministry has taken several initiatives including the reduction of E–visa fees, reduction of goods and services tax on hotel room booking, as well as promotion of adventure tourism with the opening of 120 new peaks for mountaineering. As per the year-end review, Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) to the country from January to November 2019 recorded 9.67 million, registering a year-on-year (y-o-y) growth of 3.2%. During the first eleven months of 2019, approximately 2.55 million tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 2.06 million during the same time last year, registering a y-o-y growth of 23.8%. Foreign Exchange Earnings have increased by 7.4% during the period January-November 2019 as compared to the previous year.
Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines (“CE Air”) has announced that it will launch a new international daily flight service between the new Beijing Daxing International Airport in the capital of China and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in France. Starting from 29 March 2020, the new route will be serviced by a 288-seater Airbus A350-900 with four luxury business class seats, 36 business class seats, 32 premium economy class seats and 216 economy class seats. The flight bound for Paris will take off from Beijing Daxing International Airport at 1:00, landing in Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport at 6:05 on the same day. The return flight will depart from Paris at 14:20, arriving in Beijing at 6:40 the following day. CE Air is also expected to increase frequency on its flights between Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Paris from 14 to 17 flights per week this year.