Mindanawons urged to skip Manila, fly via Davao airport instead
(DAVAO CITY) – Travel and tourism officials trumpeted Davao City’s air connectivity to cities in the Asia Pacific region and called on Mindanawons to fly via the Davao International Airport to beef up traffic and investment here.
Sonia Garcia, regional director of the Department of Tourism, said in a press briefing with Davao business reporters, doing so would redound to more international flights to and from the city.
Garcia announced the launching of a joint government and private sector marketing blitz dubbed “Davao Gateway” to promote use of the international airport, which the Air Transportation office said is “under-utilized.”
The effort seeks to popularize the use of the airport among Mindanawons, who Garcia said still think flying abroad means passing by Manila. She said it doubles the expenses while people can fly to a destination from Davao City already.
She said Davao is connected to the world through direct flights to and from Indonesia, Korea, Singapore, Palau, and others.
Airlines with international flights to and from Davao include Philippine Airlines, Air Philippines, Cebu Pacific, Silk Air, Asian Spirit, Srivijaya Air, and Merpati Nusantara Air.
Garcia also revealed more flights to and from Davao and new airlines that indicated to direct or indirectly to and from the city.
Garcia said the airlines could connect passengers to more destinations abroad with their connecting flights or their networks with bigger airlines that ply routes in Asia-Pacific, Europe, and other countries.
She said but only a few of Mindanawons are aware of the flights leaving Davao regularly.
She said still a lot of passengers from General Santos and neighboring cities fly to Manila if they want to travel abroad.
She said those who need to fly via Manila could also check in via the Davao International Airport.
She said it is just a matter of letting travelers know that is why the marketing blitz which would also eyes promotion abroad.
She said they also aim to close the gap between available plane seats and actual seats used in flights to and from Davao.
Garcia, backed by Air Transportation Office area manager Frederick G. San Felix, lawyer Domingo Duerme, president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry said they will campaign for more passengers to use the airport.
She said the opening of a Duty Free shop at the arrival area next month is an indicator of the growing traffic in the airport.
She said the airport also pushes for better infrastructures like road networks between regions and provinces in Mindanao to improve connectivity to the city.
She said they are working closely with the private sector led by the DCCIII and the Mindanao Business Council in promoting Davao gateway around Mindanao.
Duerme said Davao City is not only the gateway to southern destinations like in the BIMP EAGA. He said the city has become a convenient jump off point for destinations like in Japan and Korea.
He said the international airport’s passenger terminal is even better than that of Mactan and the NAIA airports. He said the primary target is win travelers from countries like Korea, Japan, and China to Davao.
But Duerme said the blitz also targets cargo shipment, not only passengers.
The call was echoed by representatives from both foreign and domestic airlines with international flights to Davao, who were in the briefing.
Garcia said DIA is underused, so there is a need to increase market demand, generate investments, and also spur opening of new flights to the city. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)