Capitalists And Money

Resumption of more international flights at Davao airport seen as provinces ramp up tourism options 


DAVAO Region’s tourism sector is optimistic about having more international flights revived at the Francisco Bangoy airport in Davao City as surrounding provinces launch new activities for tourists.    

“We really hope that the other routes as well will open soon,” Department of Tourism (DoT)-Davao Regional Director Tanya Rabat-Tan said last week at a media forum following budget carrier Cebu Pacific’s announcement of the resumption of its Davao-Singapore route by Oct. 30.   

Singapore Airlines Ltd. and its low-cost subsidiary Scoot have already been offering Singapore-Davao flights since early this year.   

Before the coronavirus pandemic restrictions in March 2020, there were three other international services to and from Davao City: Hong Kong by Cathay Dragon; Quanzhou by  Xiamen Air; Manado by Garuda Indonesia; and Qatar  by Qatar Airways.  

“We just had a meeting with CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines) and that was one of the items discussed. Together with DoT, especially our Secretary (Christina G. Frasco), is in talks with the airlines not just international but domestic (flights) as well,” Ms. Tan said.   

She added that talks are also in the works for flights to and from Japan.   

Meanwhile, Mati City in Davao Oriental recently hosted the first Bay Deep Mati Freediving Festival, a new water activity that has been added to its list of attractions that includes scuba diving, surfing, and skimboarding.  

“This is great news for us, now that we are starting to attract once again the attention of international tourists, most especially divers, as the world starts to move out and away from the pandemic and tourism is on a major comeback,” said Ms. Tan.  

The freedivers explored Mati City’s bays, including Oak Island, Pujada Island, Dahican, Waniban Island, and Blue Bless.  

In Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, one of the entry points to Mt. Apo, Municipal Tourism Officer Julius R. Paner said they are combining ecotourism activities with agriculture tourism as they celebrate the town fiesta this week.   

“This time we will have a unique celebration. Among the highlights is the Sta. Cruz Tourism and Agri-trade Exhibit… This is a showcase of everything that Sta. Cruz has to offer in terms of agricultural products, pre-industrial, and tourism program,” Mr. Paner said.  

Sta. Cruz is known for sports activities such as mountain biking, trail running, mountaineering, and water tubing.  

The coastal town is also largely agricultural and home to several industrial plants, including Franklin Baker Company of the Philippines (FBCOP), San Miguel Foods, Inc.-BMEG, Sta. Cruz Feed Mill, and Coca-Cola Philippines Beverages, Inc.  

Mr. Paner said several plants have already confirmed their readiness to host educational tours at their facilities as part of the town’s tourism program. — Maya M. Padillo