By Mars Mosqueda Jr.
MACTAN, Cebu — Cebu’s tourism industry is expected to get a further boost with the establishment of more direct flights from China to Cebu and vice versa in the coming months.
Ravi Saravu, Chief Commercial Adviser of GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMAC), said Chinese airlines have expressed interest to introduce new flights to Cebu, including one that will link Shanghai to Mactan on a regular schedule.
Saravu said Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) currently serves five Chinese destinations direct to and from Cebu, making the total international flights from MCIA to 17, from just seven three years ago.
Xiamen Airlines added twice weekly flights between Cebu and Fuzhou as well as Cebu and Jinjiang last April. Xiamen Airlines already has existing Xiamen-Cebu flights.
GMCAC added that another regional airline based in Chengdu, Sichuan Airlines, also started operating four times weekly flights between Cebu and Chongqing, the largest municipality in southwest China
Industry reports showed that more than 100 million Chinese nationals are expected to travel abroad this year and the Philippines, with its improved ties with China, seeks to corner a huge chunk of that tourist figure.
GMCAC envisions MCIA to become the “friendliest gateway destination,” treating passengers as guests the moment they set foot in the airport.
The construction of a new world-class Passenger Terminal Building or MCIA Terminal 2 is already in full swing and is meant to drive further growth in passenger traffic.