AirAsia mounted earlier today its inaugural flights to Taipei and Singapore, marking an expansion that is seen to boost tourism and increase job opportunities, officials said.
The new routes “herald brighter and better opportunities for travel, business and tourism,” said Philippine AirAsia Director for Flight Operations Gomer Monreal. “It also means more job opportunities and more income for families.”
Monreal said during the launch at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) that air travel is “already a necessity” nowadays and the massive AirAsia network provides “true connectivity” in the region.
Drive tourism, investment
AirAsia launched today its thrice weekly (Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday) Cebu-Taipei route and 4 times weekly (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday) Cebu-Singapore route.
GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. President Louis Ferrer said new destinations “will drive inbound tourism and foreign investment and open up new markets that will boost trade.”
Lael Loh, Area Director of the Singapore Tourism Board, described the new Cebu-Singapore route as a historical milestone that “couldn’t come at a better time.” She described Philippines, especially Cebu, as an important market for her country.
Loh said the Philippines is the 7th biggest tourism market for Singapore. Cebu, she said, comes next to Manila in terms of market share. In 2015, over 650,000 Filipinos visited Singapore. Of the number, over 33,000 came from Cebu.
Loh said the new flights are timely because 2017 is a “very exciting year for Singapore.”
“For music lovers and Cebuanos are huge music lovers, we have a lot of blockbuster concerts and music festivals this coming 2017,” Loh said. She mentioned such acts as Coldplay, Guns N Roses, and Metallica who are scheduled to perform in Singapore.
Max Limpag is a journalist, blogger, and developer based in Cebu. He started as a reporter covering City Hall in 1996. He has written on technology for various print and digital publications since 1999 and twice won the Philippine Blog Awards for technology and sports. He co-founded the new media start-up InnoPub Media.