Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Legazpi mayor seeks revival of Legazpi City-Xiamen flights
By Emmanuel P. Solis

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 8 (PNA) -- Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal is seeking the revival of direct flights from Legazpi City to Xiamen City in China because of the big number of Chinese tourists who have expressed interest in visiting Legazpi again.

Rosal on Tuesday said he is optimistic flights between the two cities could resume after the recent visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to China fostered goodwill between the two countries.

The flight between Legazpi and Xiamen was initiated in 2014 but it was later cancelled after a misunderstanding with the administration of former President Benigno Aquino 111.

Rosal said the Philippine Airlines made its first chartered flight from Xiamen to Legazpi on January 30, 2014 with 156 Chinese visitors, including journalists, who went on a familiarization tour of the various tourist spots in Legazpi City.

“The media tour was organized by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) of the Philippines, an attached agency and marketing arm of the Department of Tourism (DOT), which has been promoting the Philippines as a top destination site for meetings, conventions and exhibitions,” he said.

Rosal said the original plan was for twice-a-week flights between the two cities but it was “cancelled due to a misunderstanding with the Aquino administration.”

He said he will again make an arrangement with TPB and the tour operators in Shanghai, Guangzou and other cities in China regarding the revival of the flight from Xiamen to Legazpi in order to give new opportunities for the Chinese tourists to visit Legazpi.

Rosal said resumption of the direct flights will be a “big factor” in improving the city’s tourism industry which has an estimated 17,000 to 20,000 additional tourist arrivals annually.

He said he has asked the City Tourism Office (CTO) to establish numerous tourism desks in Legazpi’s major tourist attractions that include Lignon Hill, Embarcadero De Legazpi and City Boulevard, all of which provide a panoramic view of the world-famous Mayon Volcano, whose nearly perfect shaped cone is said to rival the beauty of Japan’s Mt. Fiji.

CTO records showed Legazpi City, which hosts an average of 35 various gatherings annually, posted a 45 percent increase in tourist arrivals in 2015 compared to the previous year. The number of visitors in 2015 was up to 967,396 from 666,210 in 2014. (PNA) PGL/EMMANUEL P. SOLIS/SSC