CHARTERED flights from China to Kalibo, one of the gateways to popular island destination Boracay, resumed last month, giving further boost to the industry’s recovery, the Tourism department said on Monday.
“We are very happy to welcome the resumption of chartered flights from China into Kalibo. This only manifests the fact that Boracay remains a popular destination for Chinese tourists,” Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco said in a statement.
An OK Airlines chartered flight from Changsha, China arrived in Kalibo on April 18, with a group of 180 Chinese tourists bound for Boracay.
The Department of Tourism (DoT) said it was the first chartered flight from China since the market reopened for international travel on Jan. 8.
“Together with the local government and our very active private stakeholders, we shall aggressively pursue the promotion of sustainable and responsible tourism in Boracay so that more will come to enjoy its beauty in the long run,” Ms. Frasco said.
China was the top foreign visitor source for the Philippines in 2019, with 1.7 million Chinese tourists recorded that year before the coronavirus restrictions were imposed in March 2020.
The Philippine government recently adopted visa reforms to ease the entry of the country’s top markets such as China.
“The DoT looks forward to equaling, if not surpassing, the number of Chinese visitors we received before the pandemic. We thank our partner agencies especially the Department of Foreign Affairs for heeding our appeal to resume the processing and issuance of Philippine visas to Chinese tour groups,” Ms. Frasco said.
“We look forward to other interventions such as the implementation of an electronic visa system to facilitate the ease of entry into the country of our tourists,” she added. — MSJ