Davao-Quanzhou direct flights seen to draw more Chinese investors

Davao International Airport under the “Build, Build, Build” program will be transformed into a “world-class” airport. MindaNews file photo by MANMAN DEJETO

DAVAO CITY – More Chinese investors are expected to invest here following XiamenAir’s launch on Tuesday of its Davao City-Quanzhou twice weekly direct flights “to serve as an air bridge to better enhance bilateral trade relations” between Davao and Jinjiang.

“It’s a very good development. Again, we have another new international direct flight to Davao City. Of course, we are very happy, for one, our tourism industry will benefit from this,” Davao City Investment Promotions Center head Lemuel Ortonio said in an interview on Thursday.

He said most of the investors would come to Davao as tourists first until they develop an interest after seeing its potential as an investment area.

At least 10,034 Chinese tourists visited the city from January to November 2018, data from the City Tourism Office released on Thursday showed.

CTO head Generose Tecson said they expect more Chinese guests, both tourists and investors, who will come to Davao with the launch of the Davao-Quanzhou flights.

She added there is a high demand for Mandarin-speaking tour guides. The city currently has two guides fluent in Mandarin.

Davao is the fourth city that Xiamen flies to after Manila, Cebu, and Kalibo. The route is served by a Boieing 737, which will depart from Quanzhou at 9 a.m. every Tuesday and Friday and arrive in Davao at 12:15 p.m.

The aircraft will depart from Davao City International Airport at 1:15 p.m.

Lin Huagun, general manager of Xiamen-Philippines, said the route will serve as an “air bridge to better enhance bilateral trade relations between Jinjiang and Davao.”

“The inauguration of this route will not only develop an efficient and convenient air bus for business travelers in Quanzhou as well as overseas Chinese in the Philippines but also further enhance the communication between two cities in the fields of commerce, culture, and tourism and achieve win-win results,” he said.

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Group launched four times-weekly Davao-Hong Kong flights on October 28. On the same day, the Consul General Office of the People’s Republic of China opened in Davao.

Chinese Consul General Li Lin said more Chinese from the mainland will visit Davao and Mindanao as he noted the immense potential for economic growth in the city and the island.

He said the consulate office started processing visas last December 10 to “facilitate visitors from Mindanao who want to visit China.

“We would like to provide all possible convenience for our two countries to move more smoothly so that the friendship can be enhanced and ultimately there can be more economic cooperation between two sides,” he said.

The launch of the air linkage came more than a month after Mayor Sara Duterte signed a sister city agreement with Jinjiang to foster “bilateral cultural and economic exchange and promote tourism between two cities.”

Lin said the air linkage lays the “solid foundation for the amicable relationship between two countries.”

“With more people coming to Philippines, they will find out that Philippines, Davao, Mindanao are not only scenically beautiful but also economically growing and people here are very friendly, very hospitable, and I think the potential for economic growth in Davao and Mindanao is immense,” he said.

Ortonio said they have been aggressively promoting the preferred investment areas of Davao to a number of Chinese investors who are making inquiries about the city.

The city government currently offers incentives for private-led projects identified under the 10 preferred investments areas such as agri-business; tourism and recreational facilities; light manufacturing and assembly; property development; health and wellness, educational and sports facilities; environment protection on green projects; information and communications technology; generation of new sources of energy; transportation and infrastructure; and public-private partnership projects. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)