By Charina Clarisse Echaluce
New direct flights between Singapore and Cebu were launched by the Department of Tourism and Philippine Airlines.
The fully-booked PAL PR 518 took its maiden flight from the Changi International Airport to Cebu at 2:45 a.m. Saturday, December 17. Many onboard were Filipinos who are taking the holiday break in the Philippines.
The DOT sealed the deal with PAL as part of its route development program and policy thrust of tourism secretary Wanda Corazon Teo to further develop and promote international gateways in the country.
“The lifeblood of Philippine tourism is connectivity. We are an archipelago and most of the tourists can reach us only by air. That is why I consider initiatives like this as critical to the continuing development of our tourism market. We are opening more gateways and with it, wider access for visitors,” Teo said.
She considers the launch as the start of “many routes to come.”
“Cebu is a premier city of Visayas. Its continuing fame as a destination is unquestioned. We now have the chance to make this not only a main tourist attraction, but also a major hub from which travelers can hop to as many of destinations in Visayas as possible,” she added.
The four-times-weekly SIN-CEB will be available every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday; while the CEB-SIN will be available on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Flight PR 518 will leave Singapore at 2:45 a.m. and arrive in Cebu at 6:40 a.m. PR 517 will depart Cebu at 10:00 p.m. and be in Singapore by 1:45 a.m.
Singapore is the country’s top source of tourists from ASEAN and seventh in the world, according to latest DOT data. More than 133,000 tourists arrived from Singapore from January–September 2016, accounting for 2.99 percent of the Philippines’ total market share of international visitors.
The new PAL SIN-CEB-SIN route is an addition to the international air access to the Philippines that the DOT brokered this year following President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit to Beijing and Tokyo recently:
- Tokyo–Cebu (soon to be launched by Vanilla Air)