THE newly-launched domestic flights of Philippine Airlines (PAL) will strengthen the position of Davao Region as a tourism magnet.

Department of Tourism (DOT)-Davao regional director Roberto Alabado III told SunStar Davao in an interview at the sidelines of the send-off ceremony of Davao-Cagayan de Oro flight on Wednesday, November 1, at Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City, said that this will give Davao a great opportunity to market its own attractions.

PAL launched on Wednesday Davao to Cagayan de Oro (CDO) and Davao-Tagbilaran, Bohol flights.

On Thursday, November 2, the airline launches its Davao-Zamboanga flight.

PAL will fly from Davao to CDO daily, Bohol four times weekly and Zamboanga three times weekly. The routes will be served by its four new Q400 new generation aircraft, an 86-seater plane.

"Of the three routes launched by PAL, our newest connection is the Tagbilaran flight. Bohol is already a hot product in tourism, surely this route will have traffic and will be sustained. With PAL, we can market Davao in Tagbiralan and vice versa," he said.

Cabinet secretary Leoncio "Jun" Evasco, Jr. was among the first passengers of PAL's Davao-Tagbilaran flight.

Alabado said there has to be massive tourism initiatives in Davao region to sustain traffic in all air routes present in the city.

He added that aside from the tourism department's regular tourism activities, DOT-Davao with its partners are sending DOT-accredited tour operators and travel agents to different destinations to sell Davao as a tourism hub.

"Right now, we have tour operators going to CDO to visit the sites there themselves so we can encourage Dabawenyos to fly there and vice versa," Alabado said.

PAL senior assistant vice president for Visayas-Mindanao Sales Harry Inofero bared that more flights are in the pipeline next month.

On December 1, PAL will launch its Cebu to Siargao, Camiguin,Ozamiz and Legaspi, Bicol routes. The Cagayan - Clark route will also be launched.

"In the middle of December we will also be flying non-stop, three time daily from Manila to Auckland and Toronto," Inofero said.

For more international flights, Inofero shared that they will open its Cebu-Bangkok and Manila-London routes before the year ends.

For Davao City, he said, PAL is looking at two more domestic destinations in Davao City which will be launched next year.

"What we have for Davao are domestic flights, in terms of international routes, we have none in the pipeline as we have to make sure that flights are supported with aircrafts," Inofero added.