Chinese tourist arrivals in Central Visayas nearly doubled in 2017

By Jose Santino S. Bunachita |December 06,2018 - 10:09 PM

RELATIONS between China and the Philippines, including Cebu, are expected to continue improving in the coming months, especially in terms of tourism.

Consul General Jia Li, the newly appointed consul of the Consulate of the People’s Republic of China in Cebu, said more Chinese tourists are seeing the beauty of Cebu and its destinations.

“In the short time I have been in Cebu, I have seen the importance attached by the Philippine government, Cebu’s government officials and the Cebuano community to China and the Philippines’ relations,” he said during a gathering with Cebu media on Wednesday.

One proof of this, Li said, is the steady increase in the number of tourists coming to the Philippines and in Central Visayas.

The number of Chinese tourists who visited the region in 2017 went up to 429,306, from 244,925 in 2016 and 128,356 in 2015.

The 2017 arrivals data represented a 75.28 percent increase compared to 2016.

This year, the number is seen to continue increasing.

“The Visayas’ beaches, mountains, heritage sites and other tourist spots have been too hard to resist,” Li said.

More flight to and from Cebu and mainland China have been opened.

Currently, the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) caters to about 10 direct flights to and from different cities in China and Cebu.

With the opening of the Bohol Panglao International Airport (BPIA) last week, Li said he expects more Chinese tourists to come in and explore the rest of the region.

Li took over as Consul General last October. He replaced former Consul General Shi Yong.

Prior to being assigned to Cebu, Li had worked in the Chinese embassies in Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Yugoslavia.

Aside from tourism, people to people exchanges have also flourished between the two countries.

Li said a number of Cebuanos and residents in the Visayas have availed of trainings and seminars hosted by various organizations in China over the past few years.

“More of such opportunities are set to come. China values friendship and righteousness, and is willing to return goodwill for sincerity and become a good neighbor and good friend of the Filipino people,” Li said.

In terms of national development, Li is also optimistic that the Chinese government will continue its partnership with the Philippine government especially with the recent state visit of China President Xi Jinping.

Locally, Li assured that the Chinese Consulate in Cebu will continue to work closely with local government units and other organizations to expand mutual cooperation.

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