AN OFFICIAL of the Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) said the planned expansion of Qatar Airways in Davao City will give boost in the development of the halal industry in the region.
Earlier, Qatar Airways, one of the big three Gulf carries from the Middle East, announced that it is set to launch flights to Davao City as part of the expansion plans.
"This is a welcome development for us in Mindanao especially that we are positioning Mindanao as the halal hub of the country, with Middle East as one of the most viable market destinations to export commodities such as our halal poultry chicken," Minda executive director assistant secretary Romeo Montenegro said in a message to SunStar Davao.
He said the agency will also fast-track the halal development in Mindanao to be able to further take advantage of this new direct route.
"Qatar Airways is one of the best airlines in the world, giving our travelers, specifically our workers abroad, world-class services, apart from a more accessible route in going in and out of Mindanao," Montenegro said.
"We will continue to work with other relevant agencies to make sure that initiatives like these are sustained, and are able to create more economic activities not just for Davao, but the rest of Mindanao," he added.
In a separate message, Davao City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) head Generose Tecson said the city will have to identify establishments that are halal- or pork-free for the convenience of Muslim tourists.
Davao City is among the 16 new destinations Qatar Airways will be launching flights to between 2018 to 2019. These destinations include Luxembourg; London Gatwick, United Kingdom; Cardiff, United Kingdom; Lisbon, Portugal; Tallinn, Estonia; Valletta, Malta; Langkawi, Malaysia; Da Nang, Vietnam; Bodrum, Antalya and Hatay, Turkey; Mykonos and Thessaloniki, Greece; and Málaga, Spain.
The announcement of the airline's expansion was made by Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker during a press conference on March 7 at the ITB Berlin, the world's largest international travel fair.