Chinese airline seeks flights between Xiamen-Davao City

CHINA-BASED airline firm XiamenAir is looking to establish regular flights to connect Xiamen and Davao City.

On Wednesday, the company started to fly from Xiamen, which boarded about 80 passengers, to test the marketability of the route. They were on board a Boeing 737 aircraft, which can cater up to 126 passengers.

Eden Josephine David, officer-in-charge of Department of Tourism (DOT)-Mindanao, said in the inaugural flight ceremony at Davao International Airport that this was made possible with the help of Uni-Orient, a travel agency, and Chinese tour operators.

“This underscores our continuing warm tourism and culture ties,” David said, citing that the city has potential as a viable market for Chinese tourists especially for the visiting friends and relatives sector.

The company’s second test flight will be on Oct. 5.

Wilson Techico, vice president of Uni-Orient, said the results of the two test flights would be the basis if the airline company would pursue regular flights. Though they only started to promote the route a month ago, he said they managed to get bookings from Chinese business officials and tourists.

On Oct. 5, Techico said almost 100 tourists have booked to travel from the city to Xiamen. “This direct connectivity was mainly pushed by my father, Stephen Techico, and William Lima, Nelson Chua and Johnny Go,” he said.

The connectivity, David said, is projected to further boost the number of Chinese tourists in the city.

As of the first quarter, data from DOT XI showed that there were 8,063 travelers from China, the fourth among the top foreign markets of the city. This increased from 7,568 in the whole year of 2015.

“The dominant reason for visiting the country has been traditionally for leisure and holiday purposes and considering the popularity of island and coastal destinations, could be very well be mainly for beach, holidays, and other nature-based activities,” David said.

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