DAVAO City will be able to have better trade and tourism traffic with South Korea, only if there was a direct flight between the two, an official of the Davao City Investment Promotion Center (DCIPC) said.
"We have a significant number of tourists from Korea coming to Davao but not as significant in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu and we know the reason is the absence of a direct flight between South Korea's Incheon International Airport and Davao's Francisco Bangoy International Airport," DCIPC Investor and Servicing unit head Christian Cambaya told reporters Wednesday, May 29, during the Habi at Kape media forum.
"This is why we are pushing for the national government, through the Department of Tourism and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, to really open a direct flight so we could have more tourist arrivals [because] it would mean more revenues for the tourism industries, more employment opportunities and more income for the local government," he added.
Cambaya said despite the effort of promoting the city as a tourism and investment destination, without a direct flight, it will be difficult for foreign investors and tourists to really choose the city as a location.
In terms of trade activities, he said that during the three-day Tourism and Business Roadshow in Seoul, Korea, some businessmen have shown interest in importing more agricultural products such as banana, mango, coconut, and cacao.
Cambaya said the Davao City Chamber of Commerce Inc. has been negotiating with potential airline companies to open a Davao-Korea direct flight.
Aside from the absence of a direct flight as a deterrent factor for more trade activities, another factor has been the absence of Free Trade Agreement between the two cities.
"We were told by the Philippine Embassy that right now, the agricultural products cannot easily enter Seoul because of the absence of the Free Trade Agreement between Korea and Davao," he said.