Kalibo airport adds Taichung, Taiwan to its list

Mandarin Airlines sets more flights to Kalibo

August 28, 2009

More Taiwanese tourists are expected to visit the Philippines this year as Taiwanese carrier Mandarin Airlines is set to offer direct charter flights from Taichung to Kalibo starting on Oct. 16, one of several new charter flight offerings from Taiwanese carriers. The airline also flies to Kaohsiung in Taiwan.

Antonio I. Basilio, Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) managing director and resident representative, said the new flights will benefit the Philippine travel and tourism industry as charter services are proving to be a driver for tourism growth.

Mandarin Airlines is not the only Taiwanese carrier that has introduced direct charter services to the Philippines top holiday destinations.

China Airlines (CAL), Taiwan’s No. 1 carrier, launched charter services to Cebu from Taipei and Kaohsiung last April and July respectively.

This month, CAL launched regular charter services to Kalibo. The carrier flies to Aklan from Taipei every Tuesday and Friday.

“These charter services are expected to bring in thousands of Taiwanese visitors to Boracay, one of the Philippines leading destinations. It’s a win-win for the community and the industry,” said Basilio.

Basilio said MECO in Taiwan is targeting four consumer segments for its tourism offerings: “Double income with no kids households, honeymooners, diving associations, and group tours.

“Although the honeymooners market may not be as big as the other market segments, it remains a potentially lucrative business for our industry suppliers and Taiwan’s destination management companies. This is a low-volume but high-yield market for us,” said Basilio.

MECO Tourism Center Representative Rene Reyes said that Taiwan’s double income no kids households or DINKS is another sub-segment that is driving the travel market.

“DINKS are comprised of young couples, usually between the ages of 30 and 40.They have both the means and the time to take overseas leisure breaks,” said Reyes who adds that Taiwan’s vibrant dive travel consumer market is another priority segment for the Philippines.

“There are about 400,000 licensed divers in Taiwan, not to mention the hundreds of other consumers who want to sign up for diving lessons. The Philippines is a good diving destination because of its mild tides. During the last quarter of the year and during the winter months, Taiwanese divers look for alternative diving sites. That’s an opportunity for us since the Philippines offers excellent year-round sites for divers,” said Reyes.

Package group tours remain the Philippines top market segment according to Reyes.

“This segment relies heavily on the quality, price and the popularity of the destination being marketed,” said Reyes. “Fortunately, our industry partners from tour operators and airlines to destination management companies “offer value-for-money products to Taiwan’s holiday travelers,” said Reyes.