CAGAYAN DE ORO – The Department of Tourism (DOT) said it is a welcome development that more air routes are being launched to improve air connectivity and boost domestic tourism, as well as international visitor arrivals in emerging tourist attractions.
DOT Undersecretary Katherine De Castro made the assertion during the inauguration of two new Cebu Pacific flight routes, the Cagayan de Oro-Tagbilaran and Cagayan de Oro-Bacolod, on Wednesday at the Laguindingan Airport, Misamis Oriental.
“Unfortunately we do not enjoy cross-border travel like they do in other regions in the world, that is why we are largely dependent on air connectivity between our gateways to tourist destinations,” De Castro said.
“The two newly-opened air routes will enhance the cluster or regional tourism concept, in this case visitors, who went wild water rafting in Cagayan de Oro, can quickly fly to see the Chocolate Hills and tarsiers in Bohol,” De Castro said.
Cebu Pacific will fly four times weekly between Cagayan de Oro (Laguindingan) and Tagbilaran and three times weekly to and from Bacolod, in addition to flights to and from Iloilo, Cebu and Davao cities.
In the past, transporting between the Visayas and Mindanao meant traveling so many hours by land, getting on Ro-Ros, or boarding an overnight trip by ship.
“This is just the start of our expansion as tourism and aviation continues to grow,” said Xander Lao, president of CEBGO, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cebu Pacific.
Lao disclosed that Cebu Pacific, in an effort to strengthen with various localilites, is eyeing the opening of new air routes to Siquijor and Masbate “due to insistent demand.”
DOT Region 10 Director May Salvana-Unchuan said the resulting influx of domestic and international visitors to one of Mindanao’s best-kept secrets will economically benefit the marginal sectors of the tourism industry, such as the authentic indigenous tribes of Mindanao.
Unchuan assured guests of a memorable and safe visit aside from the unbelievable hospitality of the people of the region that include Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Bukidnon , Camiguin, Lanao del Norte and the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Iligan,Tangub, Ozamiz, Oroquieta , El Salvador , Gingoog , Malaybalay, and Valencia.
“We are working closely with our travel and tour operators to offer more competitive and attractive packages to diverse targets so a lot more people would be enticed to come to our Region,” Unchuan also said.