China Southern Airlines’ Guangzhou-Cebu direct flight opens wealth of opportunities for local economy

By: Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo January 28,2019 - 01:15 PM

From left: Department of Tourism Central Visayas Director Shalimar Tamano; China Southern Airlines Manila Office General Manager Pang Feng; Consul General Jia Li of the People’s Republic of China in Cebu; and GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation Chief Commercial Adviser Ravishankar Saravu at the cake-cutting ceremony for the Cebu-Guangzhou inaugural flight on January 22 at the Mactan Cebu International Airport Terminal 2. | Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo

CEBU CITY, Philippines – One of China’s biggest airlines is now flying direct to Cebu from the southern city of Guangzhou bringing with it a wealth of opportunities in tourism development and cultural exchange.

China Southern Airlines started serving the Cebu-Guangzhou-Cebu route on January 22, flying three times a week every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

“With the country’s friendlier ties with China, more Chinese tourists are coming to the Philippines. To meet the demand of the fast growing Chinese market, China Southern Airlines launched new route to Cebu-Guangzhou to develop tourism and trade and better serve the Philippines,” said Pang Feng, General Manager of China Southern Airlines Manila Office.

Consul General Jia Li of the People’s Republic of China in Cebu said an estimated 500,000 Chinese tourists visited Central Visayas in 2018.

He said the good relations between China and the Philippines is the key factor in the improved tourism market.

“The boost in tourism will greatly benefit the economy in Cebu and help our two countries better understand each other’s culture,” he said highlighting the importance of the direct route between Cebu and Guangzhou.

“There are still more opportunities and potentials in tourism in the Philippines; more room for progress and development. With direct flights from Guangzhou to Cebu, we shall seize this opportunity to extend our cultural and people to people exchange,” added Jia Li.

Flights from Cebu is at 5:15 p.m. and arrives in Guangzhou at 8:25 p.m. The Guangzhou to Cebu schedule leaves at 12:25 and arrives at 4:05 p.m.

Guangzhou is China’s third largest city next to Beijing and Shanghai. The city has a population of more than 13 million people.

The city is a famous destination for business travellers as it holds the Canton Fair twice a year. Canton Fair is a trade event that gathers more than 25,000 exhibitors and 200,000 buyers.

It is also known as one of China’s tastiest cities because of the numerous traditional dimsum eateries in the city.

Department of Tourism Central Visayas Director Shalimar Tamano said China Southern Airlines’ decision to fly to Cebu only proves that Cebu is a world city and the center of Asia.

Before opening the direct flight to Cebu, China Southern already flies to Manila from Guangzhou three times a week.

Ravishankar Saravu, chief commercial adviser of GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation, considers this new route as a “very important connection” for Cebu to the rest of the world.

“China Southern also flies to many cities worldwide so it is a very important connection. By just using one China Southern flight, they can go to North America, Europe and any parts of the world,” said Saravu.

According to its company profile, China Southern Airlines currently operates more than 800 passenger and cargo transport aircrafts.

It serves more than 3,000 daily flights to 224 destinations in 40 countries and regions across the world.

In 2017, the airline has transported more than 126 million passengers.

Antonio Chiu, president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), said the direct route from Guangzhou to Cebu is a significant tourism development.

“We all know of the huge multiplier effect of high tourism activities. (We will) exert more effort to help this industry thrive and draw more investments,” he said.

Chiu said the expansion of international airlines to cities such as Cebu should be supported as this indicate sustained investor confidence.

“It is a vivid display of how great Cebu is for economic opportunities,” he said. /dcb

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TAGS: china southern airlines, direct flights to Cebu, guangzhou

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