Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Direct flight between Cebu and Naga pushed

With the Bicol Region positioning itself as the next adventure tourism destination in the Philippines, an official from the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur is courting airline companies to open a direct flight from Cebu to the provincial capital of Naga City.

“Cebu is a huge market that Naga City would like to tap,” said CamSur Governor Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr., who said the capital city now caters to 21 flights per week, including a Manila-Naga route.

“But we want to open accessibility to Cebu because it has a potential to grow tourist arrivals to the region,” he said.

CamSur is among the six provinces in Bicol region and is known for its government-owned sports and adventure tourism facilities. It aims to make Cebu an important partner in drawing not only local tourists from the Southern Philippine but also to give Cebu tourism stakeholders a wider option of tour itineraries for their foreign visitors.

Naga City is now an emerging sports and adventure tourism destination after the provincial government spent multi-million pesos to operate tourism-related facilities such as the six-hectare CamSur Watersports Complex (CWC) and soon, the world’s first largest downhill bike trail.

Villafuerte, who started an active government-led enterprise strategy, said that because of the province’s active promotion of sports and adventure tourism, CamSur earned P90 million in revenues last year and provided over 3,000 employment opportunities.

“Cebu is known for its rich history and wide adventure tourism packages, which could complement with the packages we offer here,” Villafuerte said, citing the popular wakeboarding activity at CWC is considered to be the province’s niche offering in adventure sports.

“By providing domestic and foreign visitors with a wider option for leisure activities, we can truly become the leisure capital in Asia,” the governor said.

With a direct Cebu-Naga City flight, Villafuerte said Cebu can also enjoy increased number of domestic and foreign tourists originally booked for CamSur. At present, he said they are trying to convince airliners like Cebu Pacific, Zest Air, and PAL Express to consider the Naga-Cebu-Naga route.

Villafuerte said a direct flight from Naga to Boracay is set to open next month.