Organized by Psalms Haven Travel and Tours, the appointed general sales agent of Sriwijaya Air in Davao, the familiarization trip in Manado will be on February 19 to 23 and February 23-26 in Davao City.
Sriwijaya Air is the newest Indonesian airline that flies direct Davao-Manado route twice weekly. The Jakarta-based airline uses Boeing 737-200 to provide an alternate service for the Davao-Manado route, which is currently being served by Merpati Airlines.
Sriwijaya flies every Monday and Thursday, arriving in Davao City at 10 am, and leaving for Manado at 10:45 a.m. The airline can accommodate 124 passengers and can carry cargo up to 3.5 tons in weight.
A press statement from the Mindanao Economic Council (MEDCo) noted that 28 travel agents from Davao City will be brought to Manado's top resorts — Bunaken National Park for a sightseeing and snorkeling tour, Minahasa Highland and other interesting places such as the Wolloan Village, Tondano Lake, and Pulutan Village.
The tour will also include visits to Maumbi Village, Airmadidi coconut and nutmeg processing place and Tarsius Zoo at Naemundung Tandurusa.
The Davao group is expected to meet with Walanda Maramis, the first Indonesian Women Rights Leader.
The press statement also said about 25 travel agents from Manado will bein Davao City on February 23 for the Davao Familiarization Tour. The group will also participate in the opening of the Davao Travel and Lifestyle Show which showcases products of the different tourism industry exhibitors not only from Mindanao but also from Visayas and Luzon.
The cities of Davao and Manado have been closely linked through the initiatives of the East ASEAN Growth Area (EAGA) which comprises Brunei, East Indonesia, East Malaysia and Mindanao and Palawan in the Philippines.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last year signed Memorandum Order No. 223, exempting EAGA-bound passengers from paying travel taxes, provided they originate from Mindanao or Palawan.