Corporate News

Xiamen Airlines tests Davao market

Posted on September 30, 2016

DAVAO CITY -- Some 80 Chinese businessmen arrived here Wednesday evening on board the initial direct flight served by Xiamen Airlines (XiamenAir) between its base in Xiamen, China and Davao City.

No fixed schedule has been set for a regular service on the route, but a second test flight is already slated for Oct. 5.

“This is just a test flight and the reason they are coming is to show the relationship (of) China and Davao in particular, and to show support to President Rodrigo (R.) Duterte... We’ve been cooking this for quite a time already and the response is very good,” Eden Josephine L. David, officer-in-charge of the Department of Tourism (DoT)-Mindanao, said in an interview during the event.

Tourism Secretary Wanda T. Teo and representatives of Davao-based Uni-Orient Travel, Inc. met with Chinese tour operators last Sept. 4 to discuss the maiden Davao flight.

Wilson G. Techico, Uni-Orient Travel vice-president for business and product development, said they are pushing to have regular Davao-Xiamen flights with enough market among businessmen, relatives of Davao-based Chinese nationals, and tourists.

“There are a lot of Chinese who are staying here, some of them are already third-generation and have been staying in Davao for quite a long time and [the feedback is] that most of them are very happy that there’s this flight... They don’t need to fly to Manila anymore, especially [since] the airport in Manila is quite congested,” Mr. Techico said.

The test flights are currently priced at around $330-400 per seat, one way.

“For the Chinese, what they like about the Philippines are the beaches since Davao (Region) has Samal Island and the famous Pearl Farm,” he added.

China ranks fourth among foreign arrivals in Davao with around 10,000 recorded from January to March 2016, based on DoT data.

More than half of these visitors, at 56%, come for leisure and holiday purposes, while the rest come to visit friends and relatives or for business. -- Maya M. Padillo