Direct Manila-Perth flights to begin in March
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The state government has announced new direct flights between the Philippines and WA beginning in March of next year, with tickets expected to go on sale this month.
The result of a partnership between Philippine Airlines, Perth Airport and Tourism WA, the flights between Manila and Perth will be operated four times a week, with 12 business class seats and 156 economy seats.
Mr Papalia cited the results of the latest international visitor survey showing the number of visitors from the Philippines travelling to WA growing by 34.7 per cent in the year to June 2019 as reason for securing the flights.
“These direct Philippine Airlines flights will provide an easier option for Filipinos to visit WA, whether it be to work, study, visit friends and relatives or have a holiday,” he said.
“Direct flights such as this help to position WA as Australia's western gateway, whereby visitors can start their Australian adventure in Perth and go on to explore our many wonderful regions.”
The announcement of flights between Manila and Perth forms part of a broader Asian engagement strategy for WA tourism, and follows on from the September announcement of direct flights between Shanghai and Perth beginning in January of next year.
Industry leaders have in the past called on the state government to attract more international visitors from outside the leisure market, with Tourism Council WA chief executive Evan Hall in October calling on the state government to attract more international students specifically.
The state government appears to have heeded that criticism, with the decision to reclassify WA as a 'region' later that month aiding international students' efforts to secure work after their studies.
In his comments, Mr Papalia championed the new flights as having the potential to bring more Filipino students to WA.
“International education is important for the tourism industry because each international student attracts 1.5 visiting friends and relatives from overseas annually," he said.
“These students will not only help boost the local economy and create jobs, they also add to the social and cultural vibrancy of the Western Australian community."