Direct flights from Iloilo Airport to Hong Kong will kick off on November 8. This early the first Cebu Pacific flight to the so-called shoppers' paradise is already fully booked.
Also, the Department of Tourism-Region 6 said regular and direct international flights from Iloilo to Singapore will commence on November 9.
“With this development the DOT, the several government officials, business and transport sectors are working together for the sustainability of the international flights because this is good for the tourism industry in Western Visayas,” said DOT 6 OIC-Regional Director Helen J. Catalbas.
Catalbas said Western Visayas with its 7 million population is a potential market for the two flights, assuming that five percent or around 350,000 of the population will take the trip to and from the two international destinations.
She said Filipinos from neighboring provinces or regions will come to Iloilo and get their flights from there. Marketing of this new mode of transportation, Iloilo and abroad, is necessary in order to attract the seafarers and overseas Filipino workers to use the Iloilo Airport to Hong Kong or to Singapore.
The Iloilo to Hong Kong trip costs P4,158 while that of Iloilo to Singapore is P8,247.
Catalbas said as part of the preparations, she conducted meetings with DOT accredited hotel operators, transport companies and tour operators in order to come up with tour packages not only for Hong Kong and Singapore, but more importantly for the tour packages in Western Visayas.
There are five operators from Capiz, Negros Occidental, Iloilo and Guimaras provinces, who were identified to come up with tour packages, she said. "Later this year, or early next year we will form a mission team to go to Hong Kong and Singapore to promote our potentials here,” Catalbas added.
The Tourism department, together with Cebu Pacific, is planning to invite Hong Kong and Singapore tour operators for a familiarization tour of tourist attractions in Western Visayas for them to also directly sell the tourists’ destinations.(JCM/Vicente W. Villavert-PIA6 Iloilo)