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Direct Philippines flights to return?

Direct flights between London and the Philippines could be reinstated in the next two years, Travel Daily has learned.

Domingo Enerio, chief operating officer at the Department for Tourism in the Philippines said national carrier Philippines Airlines (PAL) is soon to finalise a deal to buy 100 new aircraft, some of which could be used on flights to London or Europe into Manila from late 2013.

However PAL’s expansion plans may have to be delayed as the Philippines remains blacklisted from flying in the EU after failing a safety review by the International Civil Aviation Authority (IACO) this week. No Philippian carrier can fly into EU airspace until the blacklist is lifted.

Wherever placed the new aircraft will fuel the tourism authority’s ambitious growth plans for the next 10 years, alongside the ‘It’s More Fun to be in the Philippines’ campaign. The country plans to grow its international visitor count to 10 million by 2016, with 4m expected this year and 5m in 2013. Currently around 110,000 Brits visit the Philippines each year.

“These figures are realistic as the growth is already happening,” said Enerio. He added the tourism board has been meeting with tour operators to discuss joint marketing while showcasing its ‘fun’ campaign at WTM. With a focus on Filipinos and their nature, Enerio has deemed the first part of its campaign a success and seemed particularly pleased it had gathered much awareness at little cost. “Our campaign talks about Filipinos to show they are happy-go-lucky and welcoming,” he explained. “We encouraged them to engage with the campaign with their own images and straplines, so we now have all these images we can share with the world and most of them were free.”

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