By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – More Chinese tourists and investors are expected to invest here, following XiamenAir’s Davao City-Quanzhou twice weekly direct flights launch last December 18 that will “serve as an air bridge to better enhance bilateral trade relations” between Davao and Jinjiang.
“It’s a very good development. Again, we have another new international direct flight to Davao City. Of course, we are very happy, for one, our tourism industry will benefit from this,” Davao City Investment Promotions Center (DCIPC) head Lemuel Ortonio said in an interview.
He said most of the investors would come to Davao as tourists first until they develop an interest after seeing its potential as an investment area.
At least 10,034 Chinese tourists visited the city from January to November 2018, data from City Tourism Office released on Thursday showed.
CTO head Generose Tecson said they expect more Chinese guests, both tourists and investors, who will come to Davao with the launch of the Davao-Quanzhou flights.
She added there is a high demand for Mandarin-speaking tour guides. The city currently has two guides fluent in Mandarin.
Davao is the fourth city that XiamenAir has destinations to after Manila, Cebu, and Kalibo. The route is served by a Boeing 737, which departs from Quanzhou at 9 a.m. every Tuesday and Friday and arrives in Davao at 12:15 p.m.
Departure from Davao City International Airport is at 1:15 p.m.
Lin Huagun, general manager of Xiamen-Philippines, said route will serve as an “air bridge to better enhance bilateral trade relations between Jinjiang and Davao.”
“The inauguration of this route will not only develop an efficient and convenient air bus for business travelers in Quanzhou as well as overseas Chinese in the Philippines but also further enhance the communication between two cities in the fields of commerce, culture, and tourism and achieve win-win results,” he said.
Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Group launched four times-weekly Davao-Hong Kong flights on October 28. On same day, the Consul General Office of the People’s Republic of China opened in Davao.
Chinese Consul General Li Lin said more Chinese from the mainland will visit the city and Mindanao as he noted the there’s immense potential for economic growth in Davao and Mindanao.
He said the consulate office started processing visas last December 10 to “facilitate visitors from Mindanao who wants to visit China.”
“We would like to provide all possible convenience for our two countries to move more smoothly so that the friendship can be enhanced and ultimately there can be more economic cooperation between two sides,” he said.
The launch of the air linkage came more than a month after Mayor Sara Duterte signed a sister city agreement with Jinjiang to foster “bilateral cultural and economic exchange and promote tourism between two cities.”
Lin said the air linkage lays the “solid foundation for the amicable relationship between two countries.”
“With more people coming to Philippines, they will find out that Philippines, Davao, Mindanao are not only scenically beautiful but also economically growing and people here are very friendly, very hospitable, and I think the potential for economic growth in Davao and Mindanao is immense,” he said.
Ortonio said they have been aggressively promoting the preferred investment areas of the city to a number of Chinese investors who are making inquiries about Davao.
The City Government currently offers incentives for private-led projects identified under the 10 preferred investments areas such as agri-business; tourism and recreational facilities; light manufacturing and assembly; property development; health and wellness, educational and sports facilities; environment protection on green projects; information and communications technology; generation of new sources of energy; transportation and infrastructure; and public-private partnership projects.