Almost two months of chartered flights between Negros and South Korea, 2,500 Koreans, who were on holiday tour, have infused about P97 million to the local economy of Bacolod and Negros Occidental, Bacolod Rep. Evelio "Bing" Leonardia said yesterday.
Leonardia, who facilitated the chartered flights, led the send-off for the last batch of the Korean guests at the Bacolod-Silay Airport yesterday.
Leonardia and congressional consultant on tourism John Orola were joined by officials of the Bureau of Customs, Philippine Airlines, and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines in the send-off yesterday.
They were the same group who had rushed from their Noche Buena celebrations in their homes last Christmas to personally welcome the 194 Koreans who were the first batch to arrive.
"We thank former tourism attache John Orola and all airport and PAL officials who helped make this trail blazing project a reality," Leonardia said.
Data from PAL show that the airline company had made 17 flights from December 25 last year until yesterday. With an average of 150 Koreans per flight, this brings the total to 2,500 tourists, and if each one spent at least $800 in hotel accommodation, food, shopping, golf fees, tours, and other expenses, that translates to about P97 million infused to the local economy, the congressman said.
Many of the Koreans, who were on golf holiday, brought their wives and children, he added. The tour was organized by Mode Tours, the biggest tour agency in Korea.
This marks a new era for Bacolod tourism, he said. This has also proven that our airport is ready for international flights, another justification to expand our facilities.
This will give more impetus for the Department of Transportation and Communications to pursue the P20-billion Bacolod-Silay Airport expansion and development project under the PPP (Public-Private Partnership) arrangement which Leonardia has lobbied for as senior vice-chairman of the House Committee on Transportation.
“With these direct flights, we launched Bacolod tourism on a more accelerated pace of development,” Leonardia added.
“The Korean golf holidays only lasted about two months but this impacts on our tourism heavily and put our city on the map of a very lucrative tourism market segment,” he said.
This also showed us the challenges of international tourism, to see where our vulnerabilities are and address them, he also said. It has been a long time coming, the solon said, recalling how the lobby for the customs, immigration and quarantine facilities for the airport began in 2013 yet.*
back to top