Airline moves to cash in on growing demand to travel

By Victor Anthony V. Silva September 13,2017

Jake Jeow, SilkAir Philippines manager, discusses the airline’s thrust during Tuesday’s press briefing at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel. CDN PHOTO/Dominic Ylagan



A REGIONAL airline is exploring opportunities brought about by the growing demand of the local business and leisure travel market.

Jake Jeow, SilkAir Philippines manager, said that they particularly noticed a healthy demand among both leisure and business travelers from Cebu to places such as Singapore, which is dubbed as the “most expensive city” by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s twice-yearly “Worldwide Cost of Living” survey released earlier this year.

“We understand that the demands and expectations of our customers today can be very dynamic, but I think at this present point, we remain focused on building up traffic and supporting our existing flights in the Philippines,” Jeow said in a media briefing for “The Great Singapore Airlines Getaway” in Cebu City on Tuesday.

The campaign includes an exhibit at Ayala Center Cebu in Cebu City from September 16 to 17, where travelers can avail of promotional travel offers.
Jeow said he believed that the continuing growth of the Filipinos disposable income fueled by business process outsourcing (BPO) sector’s revenues, is behind the increase of Filipinos traveling abroad.

He said they are seeing more middle-class travelers and an increase in traffic to short-haul destinations like Singapore.

Longer-haul flights, however, could still be challenging due to Visa requirements in countries outside Southeast Asia, he added.

SilkAir services routes from Cebu, Davao, Kalibo to over 100 destinations in Southeast Asian countries, Maldives, Korea, Japan, and the USA.

However, when asked to give specific data to back his claims, he said that he could not present this information citing “commercial sensitivities.” He also did not elaborate on this.

But a report titled “Mapping the Future of Global Travel and Tourism in Asia Pacific” prepared by global payments technology firm Visa, the Philippines was listed as the fourth top Asia Pacific market with the “highest number of countries visited by a Visa credit cardholder” in 2015.

According to the report, the results indicate that “Fiipinos [have joined an] emerging global traveling class,” having visited more than five countries during the year covered.

Kinan Suchaovanich, Visa’s corporate communications director for Southeast Asia region, in earlier reports said the rising number of Filipinos traveling abroad reflects the growing affluence of the population.

Visa also estimated that Filipino travelers spent a combined $9.9 billion (465 billion) on outbound travel in 2015 and projected figures to increase by 79 percent to $17.7 billion by 2025.

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