Davao-Japan direct flights to open if…

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/25 April) – A Japanese airline company may open direct flights to and from Japan if there is a visible demand of passengers flying out of Davao City, a business leader said.

Japanese Chamber of Commerce president Keisuke Nakao said in an interview Monday that All Nippon Airlines (ANA) would consider having direct flights from Japan in case the proposed Davao-Japan Tourism Development and Investment Promotion Council is approved.

“These are some provisions by the ANA. They may extend flights here but there should be a big demand to accelerate investment and tourism here,” Nakao said at the sidelines of the Kapehan sa SM weekly media forum.

“The flights cannot operate if there are no passengers,” he said.

He said passengers from Japan still come to Davao via connecting flights serviced by Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Japan Airlines.

The city council committee on tourism is conducting hearings on the creation of the promotion council.

Nakao said the city needs to increase its marketing efforts of tourism destinations to attract investors and tourists from Japan.

He said plans of creating the investment and tourism council are still in the early stages, as of last week’s committee hearing at the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

Nakao noted that while there were already destinations in the city that could be of interest to Japanese tourists and investors, the city needed to promote more of its destinations.

“Visitors to Davao always look out for Samal or Mount Apo because they don’t notice some of the other attractions when they are in Japan,” he said.

Barangay Mintal, which has been aggressively marketing its area as an important Japanese heritage site, is already doing this.

However, Nakao said Japanese citizens might not be that easily attracted if that is the only thing the city could offer.

Mintal barangay chief Ramon Bargamento has pushed for the recognition of attractions such as the Ohta Kyozaburo Monument, Peace Monument, and old style Japanese houses in the area, to tourists and investors from the Philippines and abroad.

“Yes, we have history there in Mintal because of our shared history of Japanese settlers, but it is not the only one. We have other settlements in other nearby countries,” Nakao added. (MindaNews)