Cebu Pacific sees bright year ahead for tourism

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

LOW-COST carrier Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) is optimistic of brighter tourism prospects for 2014 with the addition of new flights and delivery of new aircraft.

In an email interview, CEB vice president for corporate affairs Jorenz T. Tañada said the airline will expand direct flights to and from Japan, a destination that has the potential to be as big as Korea when it comes to foreign tourist arrivals.

Direct flights from Nagoya and Tokyo to Manila will be launched on March 30, 2014. The airline also recently increased its flight frequency between Osaka and Manila, making it daily starting last Dec. 20.

3rd in list

Japan is the country’s third biggest source of arrivals. The Department of Tourism reported there were 329,008 Japanese tourists who visited the Philippines from January to September 2013.

Tourist arrivals reached 3.5 million from January to September, up by 11.4 percent from 3.1 million in the same period last year. This represents 64 percent of the five million target for 2013.

Tañada also announced they will be taking delivery of five brand new Airbus A320 aircraft equipped with Sharlets and three Airbus A330 aircraft this year. These planes, he said, will be used to expand the short-haul and long-haul operations. But it will depend on several factors, including air rights, seat entitlements and airport infrastructure.

Tanñada said the aviation industry had a robust 2013, stimulated by the presence of low cost carriers that brought down fares and promoted travel.

He pointed put that in the early part of the year, CEB was able to market “Fun Travel” to the Philippines in key Asian and Middle East destinations with tourism partners.

“In the first 10 months of 2013, Cebu Pacific’s trademark low fares and extensive network, allowed them to grow their domestic and international passengers by 10.8 percent, compared to the same period in 2012,” said Tañada.

Chartered flights were opened to tourism destinations like Kalibo, the international gateway to Boracay. Tañada also noted that the launch of several international and domestic routes this year also helped boost accessibility to some of the Philippines’ tourist attractions. These routes include direct flights between Cebu and Camiguin, as well as direct flights from Dubai and Bali to Manila.

Key hub

Domestic and international passengers of CEB also increased by 10.8 percent in the first 10 months of 2013 over the same period last year. The Cebu hub passengers grew by 14.7 percent in the same period.

“We are very happy to continue offering Cebuanos the most number of flights and routes from Cebu. Cebu is a key hub for Cebu Pacific, given its strategic location and the travel demand for this destination,” said Tañada.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 01, 2014.


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