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Monday, March 20, 2006

Travel News: Boracay, Cebu Pacific to HK

Dear Me,

I thought of sharing these travel tidbits to passers-by. To travel-aholics like me, it's a must to be 'in' the loop.

Boracay eyed as hotel hub
Ritz Carlton, Shangri-La see boom in RP tourism

CEBU CITY — Major players in the international hotel industry like the Ritz Carlton and Shangri-La are now eyeing Boracay as a prospective site for their upscale hotels, said Sammie Lim, chairman for tourism of the PCCI Tourism Committee during a press briefing for the BizTour 5.

The BizTour program aims to boost the local economy and alleviate poverty by developing the tourism potentials of the country.

According to Lim, with the world-class quality of beaches in the Philippines, it is no wonder that potential investors are coming in by the bunch to infuse fresh capital into the country’s tourism industry.

Cebu Plus, one of the programs that resulted from the BizTour initiative, is a five-year program aimed at attracting five million tourists to Cebu annually by 2010.

Proponents of the program have assured that Cebu, and its surrounding clusters, is highly suitable for tourists who have a penchant for gaming, adventure, sightseeing and wellness as it offers a wide variety of activities for them to choose from.

It also assures tourists of 3.5 million annual international air seats in Cebu Plus and the world-class condition of the Mactan International Airport, which operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

It also boasts of the high visibility, friendly and knowledgeable tourism police, which eliminates security as an issue in visiting the province.

Other parts of the Cebu Plus cluster are Mactan, South East Cebu, South West Cebu, North Cebu, North East Cebu, Bohol, Dumaguete, Siquijor, Boracay, Bacolod , Iloilo, Palawan, Tacloban and Guiuan, while it also offers access to Palawan, Surigao, Siargao, Iligan, Dipolog, Zamboanga, Cagayan. Camiguin, Legaspi and Sorsogon.

The target of five million tourists annually within a five year period is actually a very modest figure considering that Malaysia has been securing tens of millions of tourists, along with Thailand, which has a number of beaches considered by industry leaders as a far cry from Boracay.

According to Lim, also president of Automatic Appliances, Inc., the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has mobilized its network of 110 chambers and 35 foreign bilateral business councils nationwide to help out in this ambitious program.

The tourism plan is anchored on the country’s five major international gateways — Laoag, Subic Clark, Manila, Cebu and Davao.

By 2010, the planners believe they could secure $5 billion annually in tourism receipts. They aspire to create five million jobs on the fifth year of the program.

"Before, the country has continuously failed to surpass the two million tourist per year mark. Since the program was launched two years ago, the country now has 2.3 million visitors coming in annually," he said.

He attributed the increase to the program’s drive to promote medical tourism, gaming and other opportunities in the country, even as they continue to push the Philippines to be included in major cruises and tour packages like its other Asian counterparts.
If I am not mistaken, construction of Shangri-La in Boracay is underway. Though I heard rumors of environmental-legal battle going on.
Cebu Pacific adds HK flights

Cebu Pacific (CEB) will add another frequency to its Manila-Hong Kong route, increasing its flights from 14 to 17 times weekly, starting April 3, 2006. The additional service is scheduled to operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The Manila- Hong Kong flight departs at 7:25 p.m. while the Hong Kong – Manila flight leaves at 10:10 p.m. 'Go' fares for Hong Kong start at P1,999 one way and are available year-round. "The additional service is brought about by market growth and the constant increase in CEB passenger loads since the introduction of the Hong Kong 'Go' fares in January 2006," said Cebu Pacific General Manager, Danilo Mojica II. He emphasized that the re-launch of their website (http://www. cebupacificair.com) with real time booking had a major impact on their market growth. The airline opened its first regional office in Kowloon, Hong Kong last October 2005 to facilitate ticket sales and function as a customer service desk for the large OFW market in Hong Kong. CEB’s Hong Kong office also handles the airline’s promotion and marketing efforts in HK, China, Macao, Taiwan and Japan.
I think the HongKong fare is here to stay for quite a time. My officemate and I are sort of planning to visit HK sometime June but with all the money fuzz about saving for a lot of travels slated for the summer till mid-year, I cannot really commit myself right now. Goodness. Even Kristopher is tempting me to have a mixed leisure and business trip to Singapore. If only money pours like rain...hmm. *wishful thinking*

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