More Foreign Airlines Express Interest to Fly to Mactan-Cebu Airport

Erwin Balane, route development head of the Department of Tourism (DOT), said this was learned during the recent Routes Asia 2016 held in Manila.

Balane did not disclose the names of the airlines, but said the carriers include those from Bangkok, Indonesia and Japan and four airlines from China.

Balane said these airlines are still completing their “business case” for the Philippine market, specifically Cebu.

”After that, they will come here to do inspections and apply for some necessary permits,” said Balane.

MCIA is undergoing a PHP17.5-billion rehabilitation and expansion, which includes the construction of Terminal 2 (T2), increasing the airport’s capacity from 4.5 million to 12 million passengers a year.

The latest foreign carrier to begin flying to Cebu is China-based Xiamen Air.

Some 174 passengers were welcomed by the DOT 7, MCIA and airport operator GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) Monday during the inaugural flight of Xiamen Air with Philippine Consul General Julius Cesar Flores and some Xiamen businessmen aboard.

The new direct route between Cebu and Xiamen, China is one of the important milestones of MCIA, said MCIA Authority General Manager Nigel Paul Villarete.

Villarete said this is the first scheduled flight to China as the previous flights between these two destinations were chartered and seasonal.

“We believe that this is the start of more connections between Cebu and China, the largest tourism and travel source in the world,” he said.

Xiamen Air leaves Xiamen at 9 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and arrives in Cebu at 11:55 a.m.

The airline utilizes a Boeing 737 aircraft with a 170-seat capacity.

Last Sunday, MCIA also welcomed passengers on board EVA Airways, which is operating on a daily basis.

The airline departs Taipei, Taiwan at 7:10 a.m. and arrives in Cebu at 10:05 a.m. It will also leave Cebu on the same day at 11:05 a.m. and arrive in Taipei at 2 p.m.

Cebu is EVA Air’s second destination in the country after Manila.

Cebu resorts, hotels ready for more guests with 4 new foreign direct flights

Resort and hotels in Cebu are prepared to receive more guests following the launching of four new direct flights to Cebu in March, a top official of the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) said.

“Cebu as a destination will have more rooms available with new players coming in. Obviously, the hotel business is booming, just like what we are seeing in the residential sector,” HRRAC president Julie Najar said.

The entry of four new hotel properties with over 1,000 rooms are expected to help meet the demand of room accommodation in Cebu, with the anticipated tourist boom in the coming months as a result of improved connections between Cebu and Los Angeles, Taiwan, China and the Middle East.

The 180-room condotel Citadines Cebu City by Ascott Limited and the 295-room Dusit Princess are expected to open by 2019.

The 250-room Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort, on the other hand, will open by 2020 while construction of the 638-room Bai Hotel and Casino is underway.

At present, there are about 7,000 rooms in Cebu in the four-to five-star category.

Najar, who is the general manager of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, said the accommodation sector has been posting a healthy occupancy level since 2014.

This further increased last year when Cebu hosted big international events like the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) senior ministerial meetings and the 51st International Eucharistic Congress.

The industry, she said, is expecting more bookings this year, not only limited to the leisure market but also in meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (Mice).

She said majority of the bookings in Cebu hotels are Mice-driven. (PNA) FFC/EB/EBP/LAP/RSM

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