More direct Cebu–China flights in 2017
Tourism and business opportunities await Cebu as more direct flights are launched from China to the southern Philippine province in 2017.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), in a statement quoting Xiamen Air Travel general manager Deng Dongtao, said the airline announced additional direct flights from China to Cebu this year.
“That’s great news to us. This will open doors to more Chinese tourists soon,” said Edilberto Mendoza, president of the Cebu Association of Tour Operators, in a text message on Wednesday.
New routes include Fuzhou-Cebu and Quanzhou-Cebu in 2017.
This came after the re-opening of the Xiamen-Cebu route in March 2016, flying three times weekly, in support of the Consulate General’s economic diplomacy thrusts, underscoring the sister-city partnership between Cebu and Xiamen.
Chinese nationals are among the top five visitors in Cebu, based on figures from the Department of Tourism in Central Visayas (DOT-7).
“The entry of Xiamen Air will definitely increase Chinese arrivals in Cebu,” said Mendoza.
China, according to country of origin, stands as fourth in terms of number of tourists in Cebu from January to September 2016 with 74,421, but is third in the whole Central Visayas with 170,874.
Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit to China last year, the DOT expects three million tourists to visit different parts of the Philippines this year.
Aside from tourism, additional direct flights from China to Cebu was also seen to benefit other segments within the business sector.
“This is a great development for Cebu! It’s complimentary to the efforts of Cebu Chamber to increase trade and investment opportunities with China,” Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Melanie Ng said.
As more travel routes with China are developed, this affords the business community to explore better travel options and also better logistics options for shipment of goods, she added.
For Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) president Glenn Soco, this will boost Cebu’s trade relations with China.
“It will likewise reinforce Cebu’s position as a gateway to Asia and the rest of the world,” Soco added.
Over the years, both CCCI and MCCI have been exploring ways to link with counterparts in China through trade missions and participation in expos.
The new routes to be launched in 2017 are seen to strengthen air linkages between the Philippines and Fujian province, including Xiamen-Manila, Xiamen-Cebu and Quanzhou (Jinjiang)-Manila.
DOT-7 earlier announced it was bullish it will meet its 5.8-million visitor arrivals target for 2016 with the opening of more direct flights to the region.
Various airlines now fly directly from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) to Singapore, Narita in Japan, Los Angeles, Incheon in Korea, and Taipei, among others.
Andrew Harrison, GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Inc. (GMCAC) chief executive adviser, in an earlier statement, said they will be focused on developing more international connectivity as the new airport terminal opens in June 2018.
GMCAC is the private company managing the terminal operations and other related areas of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.
Harrison said airport improvements will spur tourism and business opportunities in Cebu and the rest of the country.
The airport is currently serving a total of 14 international destinations, 26 domestic destinations with 19 partner airline carriers.
MCIA’s Terminal 2, where construction is fully underway, was expected to boost the airport’s passenger carrying capacity to 15 million passengers a year from the current 4.5 million passengers.
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