AIRASIA Group chief executive officer Anthony Francis Fernandes urged the Philippine Government to consider removing the travel tax on outbound Filipino tourists to stir up more international flights in the country particularly outside Metro Manila like Davao City.
Fernandes pointed out that the government will not lose much by removing the taxes as not much is being earned in airports that do not have international flights.
“The travel tax is the deterrent, I think we have to show the government that actually you earn more through connectivity. This will encourage travelers to visit the international destinations without spending more,” Fernandes said.
“If an airline wants to start a flight, for instance, from Davao or Puerto Princesa or Bohol to other foreign cities, then why not allow it without a tax because you’re not losing anyway,” he added.
He underscored that if done in the Philippines, maybe other countries may be convinced after witnessing the economic gains of the travel tax removal.
“We’ll see the benefits that the removal of the tax may bring, it might give other countries confidence to remove it as well,” the executive said.
Fernandes already had meetings with top government officials, including Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez discussing his suggestion.
Last Friday, AirAsia announced its newest international route from Davao City to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which is set to begin operations on December 21.
It will initially serve the route four times a week.
With the new route, Fernandes said, Davao is building to become an international gateway in the southern Philippines.
The City Government of Davao inked a memorandum of understanding with AirAsia committing assistance to help grow and sustain the air link.
In April, AirAsia Philippines launched four new domestic routes from Davao going to Cebu, Caticlan, Boracay, Clark, and Puerto Princesa.