Davao-Australia flights sought

Subscribe Now April 29, 2014 at 09:41am

"Flights from Australia to Hong Kong and vice versa fly over Davao, but no one has looked at the possibility of convincing [the airlines] to land here," said Philip S. Dizon, president of AmCham-Davao.

Arturo P. Boncato, assistant secretary of the Department of Tourism, said the government is pushing for more international flights to Davao, not only to promote tourism but also to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Metro Manila.

Mr. Boncato said South Korean airlines like Jin Air, Jeju Air and Air Busan are also interested in launching flights that will stop over at the Davao airport, considering that the city is home to around 5,000 South Korean nationals, including retirees.

Mr. Dizon also said Australia-Davao flights could boost Mindanao’s competitiveness under the economic integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Such setup, he claimed, is not new since Mindanao has the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines -- East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) -- which, however, did not take off as a single market.

One of the reasons for its failure to do so, Mr. Dizon said, is the lack of foresight to connect to a major destination like Hong Kong.

Sea and air connectivity within the sub-region were among the issues discussed by BIMP-EAGA’s technical officials when they met here in February this year.

Romeo Montenegro, Mindanao Development Authority director for investment promotions, noted the crucial role of connectivity in the promotion of Equator Asia, which is proposed as BIMP-EAGA’s tourism brand.

AmCham-Davao, the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Mindanao will jointly hold the first Southern Mindanao Growth Corridor Investors Forum here in Sept. 19 this year.

The event will assemble businessmen from the island’s regions as well as other Filipino and foreign investors in view of the many challenges and opportunities under the ASEAN integration to start next year.

Source: bworldonline.com

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