City urged to lobby for airport upgrading

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Saturday, January 12, 2013


A LOCAL official called on the City Government to push for the upgrading of the Bacolod Silay airport to accommodate chartered flights from abroad and accelerate the entry of more tourists to Bacolod City and province of Negros Occidental.

Councilor Homer Bais, chairman of the City Council tourism committee, said although Korean tourists have arrived, there are more tourists especially from Russia who are also eager to visit Bacolod and the province.

"Making our airport capable in handling international flights will mean additional income for our city and our people. We hope that we will be able upgrade our airport with the support of President PNOY (Benigno Aquino III)," said Bais.

Koreans-in-Bacolod
BACOLOD. City Administrator John Orola talks with Korean tour operators J. Choi and Hongki Kim as they arrived at the Bacolod-Silay Airport from Cebu. (Contributed photo)

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According to a press release from City Hall, 126 Korean golfers arrived Thursday morning at the Bacolod-Silay Airport and were met by Bacolod City Administrator lawyer John Orola, along with personnel from the Bacolod Tourism and Public Information Offices.

The Koreans arrived on board two chartered flights from Cebu past 3 a.m.

They had to land first in Cebu for customs and immigration purposes, said Orola, who added that the processing can also be done at the Bacolod-Silay Airport with minimal personnel and necessary equipment needed.

He said the foreigners had to land first in Cebu at 11:30 a.m. and then board the same plane for Silay-Bacolod Airport and arrive early in the morning the next day.

Orola said direct flights from South Korea will mean more tourist influx from that country, which was seconded by South Korean travel organizer-interpreter J. Choi of Poureon Tour. They both said that come January 14, 2013, another batch of 120 Koreans will visit Bacolod, 80 percent of them men and 20 percent women.

The city administrator said this latest Korean visit will have a great impact on the local economy of Bacolod, as each visitor is estimated to spend P3,000 to P5,000 per day or even more, as they buy food and souvenir items and avail of other services in the city.

Last year, Choi estimated that around 300 South Koreans visited the city.

He said Bacolod is well-arranged, progressive and is among such favorite destinations as Boracay, Palawan, Cebu, Pagsanjan, Clark, Subic and Mount Pinatubo.

Choi said he foresees a big number of Koreans waiting to see the upcoming Bacolaodiat Festival and the internationally-known MassKara Festival.

He said it will be hard to really determine the number of Koreans coming, pending the much-expected direct flights from Korea to Bacolod-Silay airport.

He said his countrymen prefer to be around in December, January and February of each year.

If customs, immigration and quarantine processes are undertaken in the local airport, Orola forecasts a much greater number of Korean visitors in Bacolod.

Choi noted that tourists from his country would be saved tremendous inconvenience posted by stopovers in Manila and Cebu if a direct flight can be facilitated.

The Korean golfers who arrived were billeted at L'Fisher and Planta Hotels prior to their golfing schedules in Victorias and Marapara, a part of their 3 to 4 days stay in Bacolod. They will also visit the hot springs at Mambukal Summer Resort. (Carla N. Canet)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 12, 2013.

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