DAVAO CITY — China’s Xiamen Airlines is launching direct flights between its base, Jinjiang City in Fujian Province, and Davao City in December following this week’s signing of a sister city agreement between the two destinations.
Davao City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) Chief Generose D. Tecson said alongside the Sister City Agreement signed on Nov. 13 in Jinjiang was a Tourism Exchange Agreement.
The private sector agreement expresses support for the Davao-Jinjiang direct flights.
Xiamen Airlines, which is majority-owned by China Southern Airlines, has yet to determine the frequency of the service and schedule details.
The agreement “will bring the people of our two cities closer, strengthening the bilateral ties between our two nations even further,” Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte said in a speech during the signing.
The City Information Office said the sister city agreement seeks to establish cooperation in tourism and culture, trade and commerce, health and wellness, and education, science and technology.
Ms. Tecson said the city is preparing for the anticipated increase in Chinese tourists by developing a bigger pool of tour guides who are fluent in the Chinese language.
“We only have two accredited Mandarin-speaking guides (right now),” she said.
Aside from the Tourism Exchange Agreement, businesses from both cities also signed several other memoranda of understanding, including one for the establishment of a Confucius Institute at the Ateneo de Davao University.
Representatives of the Jinjiang government, led by Executive Vice Mayor Li Zili, visited Davao City in February to present their interest in expanding ties.
Davao City also has a sister city agreement with another city, Nanning, in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China.
A Chinese consulate opened in Davao on Oct. 28. — Carmencita A. Carillo