Shanghai Airlines Connects Cebu

Starts Chartered flight to Mactan

By Wilfredo Rodolfo III
Wednesday, 07 April 2010

Mactan - SHANGHAI Airlines launches its maiden direct chartered flights to Shanghai from Cebu today, a twice-weekly shuttle that is expected to bring in an estimated 9,000 additional Chinese tourists to Central Philippines every year.

Secretary of Tourism Joseph “Ace” Durano said the charter group will also go out to other popular destinations in Cebu and in Bohol with main itineraries comprises of nature-based holidays, water sport adventures, as well as heritage and cultural tours.

“China continues to be the country’s key source market for inbound tourists. This new development assures us that the Department’s our initial talks with Shanghai-based travel operators a few years back is continuing to bear fruit,” Durano said.

“We anticipate a more vibrant tourism market growth in this region, with Chinese businessmen also looking at investment opportunities as well,” he added.

Shanghai Airlines will be deploying its 160-seater Boeing 737 for the Cebu flights.

Chinese tourists have grown exponentially since the Department of Tourism adopted the policy to prioritize Asian countries for tourism. In 2004, there were only some 32,000 Chinese tourists in the Philippines. In 2009, the tally reached 200,000.

In Central Visayas Chinese arrivals more than doubled for the first 11 months in 2009 compared with the same period in 2008. As of November 2009, mainland China is the fourth-biggest market within the region, with visitors reaching more than 56,000, while those from Hong Kong is near the 30,000-mark.

Cebu already has direct shuttle flights to Guangzhou in mainland China.

Tourism undersecretary Eduardo Jarque Jr. said the increased capacity is now possible with the expansion of the Mactan Cebu International Airport.

“Sustained partnerships with travel wholesalers in Shanghai have been integral in keeping consumer awareness. We see that our goal to attract more tourists from Shanghai visiting our country for the summer break and autumn holidays is now becoming a reality,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gerry Panga, tourism attaché in Shanghai, said the Jinyu Air group, which has been operating in Cebu for three consecutive years, is also looking at reactivating its charters with China Southern Airlines, tentatively on April 30.

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