DIRECT flight between Doha, Qatar and Davao City, Philippines is now being negotiated, the Davao Tourism Association (Data) said.
Data President Gatch Gatchalian, in a press statement sent to media last Friday, May 26 said direct flight cements foreign investors confidence in the economic potential of Mindanao.
Gatchalian quoted Davao Region Tourism Council president Mary Ann “Baby” Montemayor saying: "We call on the national government to seize this opportunity and forge the first direct air links to Mindanao from the Middle East."
Montemayor emphasized that said direct flights will support the recent initiative to make Davao City one of the top four priority areas in the National Tourism Development Plan.
“The first airline to take up the challenge will discover that there is great long-term value in flying direct to Mindanao. We are eager to tap the potential of the global “Mice” (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) market, and capitalize on our eco-tourism advantages,” Montemayor said.
Detailed information regarding the proposed direct flight has yet to be finalized.
She also mentioned, given the present situation in Mindanao with the on-going clash between local terrorist group, Maute and the government troops, the present difficulties are just temporary setbacks, but the long-term potentials of Davao and Mindanao are unquestioned.
Last April, Mindanao Development Authority chairperson secretary Datu Abul Khayr Alonto said Emirates, based in Dubai, and Etihad, based in Abu Dhabi are looking into launching flights between Davao City and Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
With the proposed Middle East direct flight to Davao, Marilou Ampuan, chair of the Halal committee of the Philippine Tourism Congress urged city tourism players to embrace Halal tourism.
This was echoed by Department of Tourism 11 regional director Roberto Alabado III calling tourism establishments, like hotels and restaurants, to get a halal certification to cater to Middle Eastern tourists. ASP