THE recent opening of the Clark International Airport passenger terminal building is expected to drive visitor growth after the facility attracted more direct services from leading tourist source South Korea, according to the Department of Tourism (DoT). 

The DoT said in a statement that two of South Korea’s largest low-cost airlines were added to the list of airlines operating direct flights from Clark Airport.  

“Jeju Air will launch its Incheon-Clark-Incheon route every Thursday and Sunday, while Jin Air will offer the same route beginning May 16, every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday,” the DoT said.  

“Other foreign flights that will be utilizing the new passenger terminal include destinations to and from Singapore via Jetstar and Scoot; Doha via Qatar Airways; Air Asia; and Dubai via Emirates. Local air carriers Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines will also have flights operating at the new passenger terminal,” it added.  

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the opening of the new passenger terminal will boost the travel industry’s recovery.  

“Clark is one of the destinations included in the recently concluded World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit. More than just a freeport zone, clearly, this place is an emerging tourism hub that has great potential to bring huge gains for the tourism industry,” Ms. Puyat said.   

The new 110,000-square meter Clark International Airport passenger terminal building started operations on Monday, and will serve both domestic and international flights. The terminal is a hybrid public-private partnership project under the government’s Build, Build, Build program.  

Meanwhile, the DoT said in a separate statement that it introduced the Colors of Mindanao campaign on May 2, which seeks to promote destinations in the south.  

“It is high time that travelers and tourists think of Mindanao as a top destination in the Philippines. The island region is blessed with a multitude of beautiful destinations, historical sites, and cultural wonders. The Colors of Mindanao campaign aims to attract different types of travelers to the region, from divers, eco-adventurers, and beach bums — to history buffs, foodies, and the faithful,” Ms. Puyat said.  

“This campaign also highlights Halal and Muslim friendly tourism, one of the fastest growing tourism sectors in the world. As one of the major new products of the DoT, halal tourism will bring special attention to the attractions and cuisine in Mindanao and help boost the tourism economy in the area,” she added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave