By Mike Crismundo
BUTUAN CITY –Added flights in the Paradise Island of Siargao will fuel the economic growth in that Pacific Ocean facing island of the province of Surigao del Norte.
The surge of foreign and domestic tourist arrivals make Siargao more globally competitive in term of tourism industry, said Regional Development Council (RDC) chairperson Gov. Sol F. Matugas of Surigao del Norte and Regional Director Ma. Ana T. Nuguid of the Department of Tourism (DOT 13).
Because of the soaring tourist arrivals, the two officials credited airline companies for adding more flights in Siargao Island.
On Sunday (July 1), the Philippine Airlines (PAL) inaugurated its maiden flight, a daily service from Clark International Airport in Pampanga to Sayak National Airport in Siargao, Surigao del Norte.
PAL is using its Bombardier Next generation Q400 Turboprop Aircraft that will carry 86 passengers daily to Siargao Island — six Economy Plus seats and 80 Economy Class in a roomy cabin layout.
To cater to the influx of tourists both foreign and domestic, two other airline companies have been flying direct from Manila to Sayak National Airport and Cebu International Airport to Sayak National Airport, since last year.
In an exclusive interview with The Manila Bulletin on Wednesday, Director Nuguid said the additional flights in Siargao Island are expected to boost the tourism industry, which will make it more attractive for foreign tourists to visit that already acknowledged “Paradise Island of Siargao” in the south.
Along with the provincial government of Surigao del Norte, the DOT 13 and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH 13) convergence effort are also implementing several multi-billion tourism infrastructures that will connect all tourist destinations to the already completed circumferential road around the island.
Fast-rising Siargao Island, with nine towns has close to 300,000 population that are mostly dependent on tourism, agriculture and fishing industry.
Siargao Island, being the premier tourist destination in Caraga region, received more than P1.2 billion worth of infrastructure projects last year, with the support of other national funding through Surigao del Norte 1st District Rep. Francisco Jose F. Matugas ll and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
The island has 45 fully air-conditioned hotels and resorts mostly located in General Luna town, the home of the famous surfing hub and amazing white beach resorts and two golf courses.