By Betheena Kae Unite
A larger volume of Chinese tourist are expected to visit the Philippines with the first direct flights from Xiamen, China to Palawan set for launching by February, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Monday.
The direct flight from Xiamen, a coastal city in Fujian province to Puerto Princesa City will be launched on Feb. 10, 2018 by C&D Travel Service China, a tour operator based in Xiamen, with Philippine Airlines (PAL) as its partner carrier.
“We continue to welcome more Chinese tourists to the country as part of the improved diplomatic relationship between Manila and Beijing since President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit to China last year,” Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo said.
Regular operations will commence on February 14. Teo said.
“Just for starters, the new route will produce a total of 480 international air seats just for that period alone. This is on top of the other new routes that Chinese carriers have opened up direct to other tourist destinations in the Philippines last year,” said Benito Bengzon, Jr., Undersecretary for Tourism Development.
Bengzon also revealed that another new route from China which the Route Development Team is working on is the Tiajin – Puerto Princesa also in time for the Chinese New Year.
“The development of new routes is in consonance with our National Tourism Development Plan’s strategy to improve air connectivity from major tourist source markets to the Philippines,” the undersecretary said.
China is the Philippines’ second largest foreign tourism market next to South Korea.
968,447 Chinese tourists visited the country last year, or a 43.33 percent increase from the 675,663 Chinese tourists who visited the country in 2016.