Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Albay greets direct flight from Xiamen, China

Albay International Gateway/South Luzon International Airport (PHOTO: JOEY SARTE SALCEDA)
About 156 Chinese tourists will visit Albay during the maiden direct plane flight from Xiamen, China, to Legazpi City on Jan. 30, as the province opens its international gateway (gateway to the world) for more foreign tourists and visitors.

Gov. Joey Salceda said the Chinese visitors will come to Albay for a five-day tour of the province.

Salceda said the province has been readying the Legazpi Airport to meet the requirements, with concerned agencies installing the needed facilities.

The domestic airport here has been upgraded to serve as the new gateway for international chartered flights under Albay’s enhanced tourism program that also targets other major markets like Russia and Korea.

The Legazpi airport will also be ready with its Customs, Immigration and Quarantine-Health (CIQ) and Quarantine Agriculture to meet the requirements involving international flights.

“Ahead of the opening of the Southern Luzon International Airport (SLIA) now ongoing construction in Daraga town, we are making use of the existing Legazpi Domestic Airport for chartered flights that will fly in foreign visitors who are making our province a new destination,” the governor said.

The province, he said, is taking advantage of the foreign market trend showing that international tourists do not tend to repeat a local destination as they follow a cycle leading them from one place to another.

"This trend, according to the governor, creates a demand for a new Philippine destination other than Cebu, Boracay, Bohol and Laoag where there are existing flights from and to various cities outside of the country, particularly China,” he said.

Having Albay as a new direct destination for the Chinese travel market, for example, means getting them to start a cycle from January to March of each year wherein they would arrive via chartered flights on Sunday and leave on Thursday, Salceda said.

With this, he said, the province would be expecting in terms of arrivals 200 persons per flight from China every five days for three months or 3,600 actual bodies who would be staying five nights -- meaning 18,000 guest nights per year.

The governor also said major international conventions and conferences will be held in Albay such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) Meeting, United Nations Conference, ASEAN Meeting and some ministerial meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit which will be hosted by the province in December next year.

The Xiamen-Albay flights starting Jan. 30 will usher in the coming of about 18,000 tourists in 2014 -- growing to 50,000 in 2017, Salceda said.

Based on reports of international tourism organizations, Chinese tourists spend 0 per night.

“With this as an example, a conservative estimate of US$ 275 per Chinese guest per night would be equivalent to about P213 million in tourism receipts that Albay would get starting from the moment they arrive at the airport and as they go along with city tours, enter the gate of Cagsawa Ruins, rent ATVs (all-terrain vehicles), eat in restaurants, get services from local providers and occupy hotel rooms,” Salceda said.

He revealed that the province has established a foreign language learning facility that will accommodate would-be tour guides for thousands of tourists, mostly Chinese, coming in through the province’s international chartered flights tourism program. (PNA) CTB/FGS/EMC/CBD/RSM
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