CLARK FREEPORT — Southeast Asian International Airlines (SEAIR) has announced regular fl ights between Clark and seven destinations in China, a move that is expected to double the number of Chinese tourists in the country starting this June.
SEAIR also announced regular flights between Clark and Koror in the Republic of Palau.
Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) president-CEO Alex Cauguiran said the SEAIR flights to Beijing and Koror would be daily, with tourists in return flights to be offered trip to and guided tours in Metro Manila and other areas.
“Koror is the most prominent among many islands comprising the main commercial centre of the Republic of Palau,” Cauguiran noted.
SEAIR also bared twice-weekly flights between Clark and Kunming in Yunan province, Nanning in Guangxi, Changsha in Human, Ningbo and Wenzhou in Zhejiang, Wuhan in Hubei, and Hefei in Anhui.
These flights would be complemented by SEAIR’s twice-weekly flights to Puerto Princesa which would then be readily available from tourists arriving at Clark.
“This is a huge development for Clark airport as SEAIR’s passengers are mainly Chinese businessmen and their families going on vacation,” Cauguiran said.
Cauguiran said CIAC’s management team and SEAIR International executives, led by the airline’s chief executive officer Benjamin Solis and its director for operations Ernesto Pabalan, are holding meetings with tourism businessmen in Angeles City and nearby cities in Pampanga to align the airline’s operational plans with the capabilities of local tourism outfits.
“Opportunities abound with the influx of Chinese tourists (who are) expected to visit in the coming months. This will definitely boost Clark airport operations and will hugely benefit the local hotel industry and the business communities in Central Luzon, especially in Pampanga and Zambales,” Cauguiran said.
The entry of SEAIR at Clark airport came at the heels of the airline’s partnership with China International Travel Services, the biggest government- owned tour services operator in China.
“The preferred destinations of Chinese tourists are the beaches and diving locations, family recreation spots, souvenir shops, restaurants, other tourist sites, and first-class hotels especially inside the Clark,” Cauguiran said.
He also noted that the Department of Tourism (DOT) counts China as the third largest market of Philippine tourism. Some 630,000 Chinese tourists visited the Philippines from January to November 2016 but with warmer ties with Beijing, the DOT expects this number to double by the end of 2017.