Commercial flight company AirAsia is betting on the creation of ‘green lanes’ to revive the country’s waning tourism sector.
The air carrier is backing the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) proposal of putting up special lanes to facilitate the entry of foreign travelers into the Philippines, which could potentially boost tourism revenues.
AirAsia Philippines Spokesperson Steve Dailisan said the strategy will be supplemented with the implementation of strengthened, uniform travel requirements.
Dailisan noted that the scheme will initially be applied to domestic travelers and if it proves to be an effective plan, it will then be used to welcome foreign arrivals.
“AirAsia believes that the ‘green lane’ will encourage leisure travelers who have previously expressed concerns on varying requirements per destination,” Dailisan shared.
“This will be further reinforced by the implementation of uniform travel requirements through a digital travel pass. If the execution becomes effective for domestic travel, then we can slowly welcome foreign tourists again,” he explained further.
The same strategy has been adopted in countries like Nepal, Thailand, Spain, and France.
According to Dailisan, while they do believe that the easing of protocols for fully vaccinated individuals is the right path to reopening the tourism sector, complacency is something they do not condone.
“While we strongly believe that easing of restrictions among fully vaccinated individuals is key to rebooting tourism, there must be no room for complacency,” he stressed.
Dailisan urged stakeholders and partners to do their part, specifically in making sure that everyone will be safe.
“Industry partners and all stakeholders must proactively monitor and observe established health and safety protocols,” he said.
Earlier this year, the DOT reported that the Philippines’ tourism industry was among the hardest hit by the pandemic. The country lost P400 billion in income in 2020 due to COVID-19 imposed lockdowns and restrictions.
The country was only able to accommodate 1.3 million foreign travelers last year, a huge dip from 2019’s 8.3 million foreign visitors.
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