Hike in tourist arrivals in Davao seen

WITH the re-launch of Cebu Pacific Air's Davao-Singapore direct flight on December 17, tourism officials in Davao Region have expressed optimism this will further boost tourist arrivals in the region.

Davao City tourism officer Lisette Marques, speaking in Monday's Kapehan Sa Dabaw at the SM City Annex, said that Cebu Pacific will serve twice a week flights from Davao City to Singapore and vice versa.

"We would like to see Singaporean market to increase with the opening of this new international direct flight," she said.

The Davao-Singapore direct flight is one of Cebu Pacific’s new three direct international flight routes to be launched on December 17, including the Manila-Fukuoka, Japan and Cebu-Taipei, Taiwan flights.

Roberto P. Alabado III, regional director of the Department of Tourism (DOT), said in a separate interview said that last November 22 to 25, a delegation composed of representatives from the DOT, specifically the agency's route development department, the Davao City Tourism Operations Office, Cebu Pacific Air and other private sector tourism stakeholders including representatives from Marco Polo Davao, Park Inn by Radisson and Pearl Farm Resort, among others, went to Singapore to update the Singaporean market on the region's tourism offerings.

"We did a product update and introduced to Singapore business and tourism industry the new Davao-Singapore flight," Alabado said.

"During the visit, we were able to do business matching with 55 Singaporean operators as well as our counterparts in Singapore. We are positive that we are able to sell and give the information that is needed for them (Singaporean market) to get interested in coming here in Davao and vice versa," Marques said.

Marques added that as Singapore is considered as an international hub with mixed foreign tourists, tourism stakeholders here are eyeing not just the Singaporean market but other foreign tourists who might consider to visit Davao.

DOT said that they also received inquiries from private tour operators about situation of Halal tourism in the city.

Marques also bared that the tourism department with the leading airlines in the country is looking at other foreign areas that could be viable for a direct flight in Davao.

"Talks on establishing a direct flight in Darwin, Australia and India are on the process now, these direct flights are important in boosting our foreign tourist arrivals here,” Marques said adding that in planning the direct flight routes factors to be considered are the airport facilities, runways, fees, among others.

According to CTOO, Singaporeans are part of the top ten foreign visitors in the city following Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, Americans, Australians and Indian.

“The new service will be operated on an Airbus A320 aircraft,” Cebu Pacific’s website bared.

The airline currently flies from Singapore to Manila up to 25 times weekly. It also operates up to seven weekly flights to Cebu and Clark, as well as thrice-weekly flights to Iloilo.
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