HRRAC wants gov't to make Cebu landing hub for OFW returnees

THE Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) has appealed to government agencies and airline carriers to open more flights to Cebu and fly the repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) closer to their destinations.

The joint statement dubbed “A Call to Move Forward” released on Tuesday, Aug. 4, was addressed to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Department of Transportation, Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, Cebu Province, Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority, GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC), Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific Air and Air Asia Philippines.

“Considering the efforts and investments made in our Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) together with other tourism stakeholders, Cebu in general, is ready to accept arrivals and is committed to serve our nearby islands in support to road to recovery,” the HRRAC said.

It cited MCIA’s Covid-19 testing facility that can cater to at least 1,500 travelers and can release test results within 24 hours, among others.

Landing hub for OFWs

Moreover, HRRAC said it wants the IATF-EID to consider Cebu as a landing hub for OFWs from inbound international flights considering the airport’s and hotels’ capacities to produce faster Covid-19 results and offer accessible accommodations.

The group claimed that their members received an advisory from PAL saying that “PAL will no longer divert their flights to Cebu and that all its international flights will now be served at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.”

The group said OFWs who arrive in Manila and Clark are billeted as far as Subic to Batangas and their Covid-19 test results are released 48 to 72 hours due to location, which implies that they will stay longer in hotels and spend more on transportation cost.

“We would like to appeal to your good office to review the benefits of the facilities in flying directly to Cebu that will service the greater Visayas and Mindanao area,” the HRRAC said, stressing that all accommodation facilities and tourism players in Cebu are complying with all health standards set by the Project Balik Buhay, the DOT, the Department of Health and the Department of Trade and Industry.

The group also argued that repatriated OFWs bound for the Visayas and Mindanao will find it more convenient and practical to fly directly to Cebu since it will be closer to their destination.

“These measures will help lessen the government’s expenditure due to shorter stay in the hotel and lower transportation cost,” the HRRAC said.

The association has been lobbying for its hotel members whose businesses were severely damaged by the lockdowns brought about by the pandemic. (JOB)


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