Suspension of Davao-Jinjiang flights to affect economic cooperation between sister cities

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 4 Feb) – The one-month suspension of the twice-weekly Davao City-Jinjiang-Davao flights of Xiamen Airlines may have temporary repercussions on the growing economic cooperation between the two sister cities, Chinese Consul General Li Lin said in an interview Monday.

China Consul General Li Lin speaks to reporters inside the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Davao City on Monday morning, 3 February 2020. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

Lin said aside from tourists, several Chinese businessmen and even government officials who are exploring for possible business and economic partnerships would fly directly to Davao via Davao-Jinjiang-Davao flights.

“We have not only tourists but also businessmen and government officials who are making official visits as well. The suspension, of course, will bring an impact to both tourism and economic cooperation,” he said.

But Lin believed the adverse impact of the suspension would not deter future cooperation as soon as the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which originated from Wuhan, China, would be put under control.

He said the 13-year partnership of the two cities is starting to gain fruits. Both cities signed an existing sister city agreement in 2007 when President Rodrigo R. Duterte was still the mayor of Davao.

He added Davao is becoming more known not only as a tourist destination but also potential investment destination for Chinese businessmen.

“I think, in general terms, if we look into the future, the positive momentum of economic cooperation and people-to-people exchange will not be affected,” he said.

The suspension of the direct flights came amid a global outbreak of the dreaded novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The air service carries from 60 to 70 passengers per flight who are mostly Chinese, according to Lin.

“I think when the situation evolves we may make necessary adjustments. We will work very closely with the Davao City government and other local governments of Mindanao as well as Xiamen Airlines. Once the epidemic is brought under control we have the confidence to encourage continuous tourist exchanges. We will make relevant adjustments,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)