Laoag City, a major tourist destination in Northern Luzon, expects to welcome about 400 tourists per week after China Eastern Airlines launched the Guangzhou-Laoag- Guangzhou chartered flights on Tuesday.
Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo led major industry stakeholders at the launching ceremonies held at the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou, China. Initiated by the Jimei Group, chartered flights will be on a twice weekly basis.
The inaugural flight on November 1 is expected to carry more than 100 passengers, Teo said.
The tourists will stay at the Fort Ilocandia Resort and Casino where they can play golf and play at the casino.
They could also explore Ilocos Norte’s sand dunes, cinematic landscapes, beaches, and historical sites.
With the launching of the chartered flights, Teo expressed optimism that the Department of Tourism (DOT) could surpass the six-million tourist target for 2016. Data from DOT show that more tourists from China have been drawn to the Philippines lately, with about 500,000 Chinese arrivals in 2015.
China has the world’s largest number of outbound tourists. In 2015, around 120 million Chinese travelled overseas and spent about $500 billion, according to the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA).
The tourism secretary was with the official delegation that accompanied President Rodrigo Duterte on his state visit to China. While there she met with investors and Chinese tour operators. On Thursday, Teo and CNTA Chairman Li Jinzao signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Tourism Cooperation between the Philippines and China. It was witnessed by President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping.