Chinese to come in droves with new air routes to the Philippines

The Philippines stands to gain in the influx of more Chinese visitors with the first-ever direct charter flight from Xiamen (XMN), a coastal city in Fujian Province of China to Puerto Princesa City (PPS), Palawan starting next month.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) paved the way for the creation of the XMN-PPS route which will be launched by February 10 by C&D Travel Service China, a charter operator based in Xiamen, with Philippine Airlines (PAL) as the partner carrier.

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“We continue to welcome more Chinese tourists to the country as part of the improved diplomatic relationship between Manila and Beijing since President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit to China last year,” said DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo.

Regular operations will ensue on February 14 and 18, which will accommodate more visitors from mainland China.

PAL will be utilizing an Airbus A320 with an estimated 160 dual class seat passenger capacity for the said charter flight.

“Just for starters, the new route will produce a total of 480 international air seats just for that period alone. This is on top of the other new routes that Chinese carriers have opened up direct to other tourist destinations in the Philippines last year,” said Benito Bengzon, Jr., DOT Undersecretary for Tourism Development.

Bengzon went on to say, “Another new route from China that our Route Development Team is working on is the Tiajin (TJN)-Puerto Princesa (PPS) also in time for the Chinese New Year. The development of new routes is in consonance with our National Tourism Development Plan’s strategy to improve air connectivity from major tourist source markets to the Philippines.”

To meet the growing demand of Chinese visitors to come to Boracay, Xiamen Airlines earlier this month mounted its direct air commercial services from Fuzhou (FOC), China to Kalibo, Aklan (KLO) using Airbus A321 with 197 seat passenger capacity on a three times weekly frequency.

The said new route was launched last January 12 by Xiamen Airlines with Uni-Orient Travel (PHL) as its major partner.

China, which is the second largest source market of the country following Korea, produced 968,447 tourist arrivals from January to December last year. It is a huge growth of 43.33% from the 2016 Chinese arrivals of 675,663.

DOT Route Development Team Head Erwin Balane added that the new FOC-KLO route will produce up to 591 international air seats bound for the Philippines per week or a total of 30,732 seats per year.

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