THE revival of flights between Davao and Manado is expected to boost investment and tourism activities between Mindanao and North Sulawesi, Indonesia, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said last week.

MinDA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said this is a strategic route under the transport and connectivity of the BIMP-EAGA that strengthens Mindanao, through Davao, as a gateway to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

It widens economic opportunities especially in tourism and trade, and Mindanao has a lot to offer, Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said.

Last week, MinDa, the Philippines East Asean Growth Area (EAGA) and the Indonesian Consulate General in Davao led the ceremonial reception of the inaugural flight of Garuda Indonesia’s Davao-Manado air connectivity at the Davao International Airport.

Garuda CEO Ari Askhara said the flights are expected to boost economic and cultural ties between North Sulawesi and Mindanao by offering easier access to travelers in Davao, the central business city in southern Philippines, to various destinations in North Sulawesi.

Davao Tourism Association President Renato Gatchalian, Jr. said the flights give Davao a chance again to build ties with another destination. The Manado-Davao route was last served by Wings Air in 2012. — Maya M. Padillo