By Philippine News Agency
The arrival of visitors to Northern Mindanao is expected to increase as Cebu Pacific added two more flights connecting the region to two areas in the Visayas, a Department of Tourism (DOT) official said Friday.
Cebu Pacific launched on Wednesday the Laguindingan-Bacolod and Laguindingan-Tagbilaran flights.
May Salvaña-Unchuan, DOT Region 10 director, said the decision of Cebu Pacific to add these new destinations would have a huge impact on the tourism and economic activities of Northern Mindanao and other parts of the island.
The opening of two more flights is timely because the DOT-10 is preparing new packages that would cater to local and foreign tourists, Salvaña-Unchuan said.
She said attractions like golf, diving and religious pilgrimages are sure to bring in more visitors to the region.
Katherine De Castro, DOT undersecretary for tourism advocacy and public affairs, said the additional flights will certainly enhance the region’s tourism sector.
“If we are to boost our tourism industry, it is imperative to boost air connectivity as well,” de Castro told reporters and officials during the press conference and inaugural of the new flights at the Laguindingan airport terminal in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental on Wednesday.
De Castro said that DOT is also pushing for the infrastructure improvement of the country’s airports to world standards in view of the demand of the tourism industry.
For his part, Cebu Pacific president and CEO Alexander Lao said the additional flights they have opened will have many positive impact on the business community in Mindanao and Visayas.
“We believe that these new routes will not only boost tourism, but also increase trade and productivity between Visayas and Mindanao. Movement of goods between these islands will also be facilitated as [Cebu Pacific] cargo services are also available in these new routes,” Lao said in a statement.
He added: “[Cebu Pacific] is likewise optimistic that our newest routes will encourage a number of tourists and businessmen from Tagbilaran and Bacolod to visit Mindanao more often with direct flights.”
Cebu Pacific will be flying four times weekly (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) between Laguindingan and Tagbilaran; and three times a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) between Laguindingan and Bacolod. Both new routes to and from Laguindingan will use the airline’s ATR aircraft.