Routes Asia forum in 2019 seen to boost Cebu tourism | Cebu Daily …

LOCAL tourism stakeholders foresee more opportunities for the tourism industry to showcase Cebu as a business and tourism destination after it was announced that Cebu would be the host of the next Routes Asia forum in 2019.

Joshur Judd Lanete II, Department of Tourism Central Visayas (DOT-7) director, said they are pleased that Cebu will be hosting the event two years from now.

“It will provide opportunities for Cebu to be considered by more airlines for direct connections or access, which will also open Cebu to more source tourist markets,” Lanete said in a text message.

Manila hosted the 2016 leg of Routes Asia, considered as the largest development forum in the region which brings together leading airlines, airports and their stakeholders to discuss air services to, from and within Asia.

Carlo Suarez, president of the Hotels, Resorts, and Restaurants Association of Cebu (HRRAC), echoed the tourism director’s sentiments, adding that the forum will also be a venue to showcase to the delegates Cebu as a premium destination.

“With this, we must continue to develop the infrastructure to support the growing industry,” he said.

For Edwin Ortiz, director of the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), hosting Routes Asia 2019 is indeed a welcome development.

“We will be able to show to airline-airport industry players the best of Cebu as a tourist and business destination, thus encouraging them to come up with more direct flights to our city,” he said.

Ortiz added that the forum is also timely since the new world-class airport terminal will be completed and operational by then.

The MCIA is set to open by June 2018 a new passenger terminal that would increase the gateway’s capacity to 12 million from the current 4.5 million annually.

Hembler Mendoza, Lapu-Lapu City tourism officer, meanwhile, said this goes to show how crucial Cebu’s role is in the country’s tourism sector.

“This is a chance for us to showcase what we have here in Cebu. I am very excited with the news and the opportunities it will give us,” he said.

Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo, in a press release, said they are very optimistic of the growth of Philippines aviation and tourism, especially in Central Visayas with the huge opportunity that comes from hosting Routes Asia 2019 in Cebu.

“We foresee significant gains similar to the results arising from having the same forum in Manila last year,” she said.

Teo said that from January to December this year, Philippine Airlines, Air Asia and foreign airlines China Eastern, Sichuan, Xiamen, and Shenzhen will be bringing a total of 482,196 additional international air seats as a result of their aggressive negotiations in 2016.

Partial data released by the DOT-7 show that Cebu welcomed close to 1.5 million visitors between January and April 2017, growing by 4.16 percent from 1.43 million visitors recorded during the same four-month period last year.