|DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/11 August) – Talks are underway for the opening of chartered flights between this city and the bustling Chinese city of Shanghai, Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano said.
Durano told reporters Thursday that China-based airline China Southern has eyed opening the new route this year in addition to doubling the number of its Shanghai–Cebu flights.
While in Davao, Durano visited the Philippine Eagle Center in Calinan district, where he vowed to fund a P5-million rehabilitation project of its visitors' lounge to attract more tourists.
He told MindaNews he was also in town to discuss with the governors of the four provinces surrounding the Mt. Apo Range Natural Park, which is also being promoted as an eco-tourism destination.
Durano also opened the Second Mindanao Travel and Tour Expo at the SM City Davao Entertainment Plaza on Aug. 10.
The expo is part of the city's annual celebration of the renowned Kadayawan Festival.
He told reporters covering the event that DOT will bank on the gains of the Asean Tourism Forum in 2005, where Davao City was launched as among the key players of the industry in the world owing to its being an international tourism destination.
Durano said the talks for the new air connection with the Chinese city are part of the continuing efforts to promote Davao.
Talks on the new air route came on the same week that a city councilor proposed a resolution urging the Chinese government to open a consular office in Davao as part of the city's policy to promote international friendship, cooperation, tourism, trade, and investments.
The city has entered into a sister-city pact with another Chinese city, Nanning, China's gateway to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
In March this year, travel and tourism officials trumpeted Davao City's air connectivity to cities in the Asia-Pacific region and called on Mindanawons to fly via the Davao International Airport to boost traffic and investment here.
DOT announced the launching of a joint government and private sector marketing blitz dubbed "Davao Gateway" to promote the use of the city's international airport.