Pinoy pride fans, rejoice! The Philippines can add another achievement to its ever growing list! Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 has brushed off competition to once again bag the title of “Worst Airport”! This makes it two (2) years in a row! PINOY PRIDE YEAH! Let’s go for three-peat in 2013!
The difference, though, between last year and this year is that “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports”, the website who ran the survey, is that they divided the worst airport categories by region. So in effect, the title of ‘Worst Airport in the World’ didn’t exist this year; NAIA is now just the “Worst Airport in Asia”. BOO! We were cheated! We used to be worst in the world, now we’re just worst in Asia! Give us back our “World’s Worst Airport” title, you racist basterds!
It doesn’t matter though, whether it’s in Asia, or the world, basta Pinoy da best! Let’s all cheer, scream, march out on the streets, and start opening those bottles of San Miguel Beer!
NB: the above paragraphs are sarcastic in tone. I have to explain it to Pinoys who are satirically and sarcastically challenged.
So what exactly did travelers complain about this year? According to the website:
Traveller Complaints: (Anything and everything) Poor Transit Facilities • Queues • Bribery • Crowded • Insufficient Seating • Delays receiving bags on belt • Poor quality restaurants • Taxi Scams
“at this airport you have to have your itinerary to enter the terminal. i forgot it that day and so the police said if i give him 10 USD he’ll let me in.” – beaniebaby
Pretty much what they complained about last year. Even the dirty toilets are still an issue.
Even how government officials replied is pretty much the same, too. NAIA Terminal 1 manager Dante Basanta was quoted as saying, “It’s unfair for them to say that we have the world’s worst airport because we’ve already implemented several improvements at the terminal for the past several months.” And according to presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, “Tuloy-tuloy po ang gagawin nating renovation po dito sa NAIA 1 and syempre we are always cognizant of the concerns of travelers and certainly we’ll take this to (heart) (The renovations are ongoing at NAIA 1 and of course we are always cognizant of the concerns of travelers…). For my last example, Consuelo Bungag, media affairs chief of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), chimed in, “That’s their opinion. From our end, we know we are doing our best to improve both the facilities and services here at the airport.”
In other words, “We’re working on it; cut us some slack“ and “Screw the surveys, they’re not reflecting our reality, ah basta!”
Now comes the question which authorities in charge will, I think, be hard-pressed and stymied in answering: Where are the results?
It makes you wonder: how serious is our government in their efforts to promote tourism if they can’t even fix the airport?! Now that the airport has been cited two (2) years in a row, do they actually think they can say that their efforts have been successful?! Can they say through their teeth that, indeed, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” if the first impression that our potential guests get is an awful one?
It’s simple, really. First impressions last. How tourists find your airport will inescapably leave a lasting impression on them. It is the first, and most important step, in making them feel welcome to your country. If you want them to stay, you better make their experience through it as pleasant, smooth and efficient as possible. How hard is that to understand?
Case in point: when I went to Thailand this year, Suvarnabhumi Airport was a great example of this policy in motion. The inside was really clean, getting through immigration was a walk in the park, and the design of the airport allowed for smooth flow of traffic. Plus, the seats are good enough to sleep in even for the most weary traveler. Apparently, the Immigration Division of Thailand has a 3S policy in place: Service mind, security, and standard.
“The purpose of the 3S policy is to improve the quality of our services. We want to give our guests a good impression by making sure that our officers are offering services from the heart (Service Mind) to create security for the country and its people (Security), under the correct rules and regulations (Standard).”
“‘3S’ makes sure that our officers are friendly to the people no matter what nationality they are. The officers must remember to smile. They must be willing to do whatever task is necessary and not choose to do only do the tasks they want. They must offer a service that satisfies people’s needs and makes people comfortable in their dealings with the police,”
Of course, this concept is most likely to be lost on Filipinos, who would rather do with pwede-na-iyan, bahala na, ningas-kugon, and avoidance of responsibility.
There are Pinoys out there who claim to have been to other continents and cry foul; there are other airports in Asia and the world worse than ours. Well, to me, that is a sign of escapist thinking. Someone is worse off than you, so no need to change your current situation. They should get the following message through their thick skulls: It doesn’t matter if you’re the world’s worst or not. What matters is that you’ve been told that your house is dirty. Stop whining and let’s clean up!
Let’s not make the simple complicated, folks. If we’re really resolved to show tourists why it’s more fun in the Philippines, let’s at least give them the proper introduction and welcome. It starts the minute they land.
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