JINJIANG CITY, People’s Republic of China (MindaNews / 11 November) — Chinese tourist arrivals from here to Davao City have been on the uptrend following the signing of a sisterhood agreement between the two cities and the launching of the direct air flight last year, officials here said.
Almost a year ago, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and Liu Wenru signed the twinning pact in this city, where Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal and Chinese-Filipino business magnate Henry Sy traced their roots.
Huang Yiming, president of the Fujian Your Tour International Travel Agency Co. Ltd., told Mindanao-based journalists on an exposure trip here that tourist traffic between the two cities is picking up, although Chinese tourists far more outweigh their Filipino counterparts in terms of volume.
“We have recorded a 50 percent increase in Chinese tourists going to Davao following the signing of the sisterhood agreement and the launching of a direct flight between the two cities,” he said.
The air route between the cities of Jinjiang, which is part of Fujian province, and Davao is being served by Chinese airline XiamenAir twice a week.
Huang noted that Chinese tourists visiting Davao City each spends an average “of ¥20,000 or about P145,000 for five days for accommodation, food, sightseeing, island-hopping and shopping.” The amount excludes visa fees and airfare.
Speaking through an interpreter, he stressed that more Chinese from Fujian province, which has a population of almost 40 million in 2018, have been going to other countries because of their growing spending powers brought about by a rising economy.
For the first half of 2019, Huang pointed out that at least 4,000 Chinese nationals from the area flew directly to Davao for tourism and business purposes.
Huang said they also want more Filipinos from Davao and neighboring areas to visit Fujian province, considered as the gateway to China’s Maritime Silk Road.
Li Lin, Chinese consul general in Davao City, pledged to sustain the growing tourism and trade ties between southeast China and the southern Philippines.
“China’s cooperation with the southern part of the Philippines will be brought to a higher level. (With that) Mindanao is going to contribute more significantly to China-Philippine relations,” the envoy said.
Li’s office organized last week’s media delegation to Fujian province, which includes visits to the Jose Rizal Square where a monument of the national hero was erected.
Jinjiang City also hosts an SM City, the chain of shopping malls founded by the late Chinese-Filipino business tycoon Henry Sy.
Mayor Duterte earlier said the sisterhood pact between the cities of Davao and Jinjiang seeks to establish cooperation in the fields of tourism, trade, culture, education and technology, among others.
“(The sisterhood ties) will foster an exchange of ideas on identified fields and bring the people of our two cities closer, (thus) strengthening the bilateral ties between our two nations even further,” she said in a statement.
Besides Jinjiang, Davao City earlier forged a sisterhood pact with China’s Nanning City, the capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. (Bong Sarmiento /MindaNews)