Bimp-Eaga biz group: Relax landing rights

THE BUSINESS sector in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asean Growth Area (Bimp-Eaga) be relaxed to spur tourism and trade in the sub-region.

LAO

LAO

“The BEBC (Bimp-Eaga Business Council) should pressure the governments in the sub-region to have special rates on landing rights,” said Vicente T. Lao, BEBC new chair, during the turnover ceremony of the council’s chairmanship on Tuesday at the Marco Polo Davao Hotel.

 Lao said the cost of landing rights, or fees collected for servicing a route, would affect the prices of the airline tickets. He said it is best that special rates be offered to airlines that are servicing the routes within the sub-region to reduce the ticket prices and help increase tourist arrivals.

 The millennials, he said, are a potential market that could bolster tourism receipts once the cost of going to destinations in the sub-region is reduced.

 In the Philippines, identified as part of the sub-region are Mindanao and Palawan.

 “While (the move) would imply that the revenues of the airports would go down because of the special rates, our tourism and trade would potentially increase if the rates on landing rights would be reduced for the airlines,” Lao said.

 The BEBC is the official representative organization of the private sector in the sub-region.

 Meanwhile, there is also a pending proposal at the House of Representatives that seeks to grant travel tax exemption for those traveling from Mindanao and Palawan to any destination in the sub-region.

 The proposal was filed by committee on tourism chairperson Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez of Fourth District, Leyte and Reps. Mercedes Cagas (Davao del Sur), Gil Acosta (Third District, Palawan), Frederick Siao (Iligan City), Glona Labadlabad (Second District, Zamboanga del Norte), Ma. Lucille Nava (Guimaras) and Makmod Mending Jr. (AMIN Party-list).

 The lawmakers urged President Rodrigo R. Duterte to renew the policy that would grant travel tax exemption departing from airports and seaports in Mindanao and Palawan to any destination in the Bimp-Eaga.

 In a statement of the House of Representatives, “among the BIMP-EAGA member-countries, only the Philippines collects travel tax on its outbound international travels, which, House members said, runs counter to the sub-regional objective of promoting the connectivity and accessibility of EAGA focus areas as well as facilitating freer movement of people, goods and services.”

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