Selling Cebu like ‘Republic of Cebu’ eased travel advisory impact

A Philippine Airlines aircraft

THE marketing of Cebu apart from the country has lessened the impact on Cebu of foreign governments issuing travel advisories to the Philippines.

Ryan Uy, Philippine Airlines (PAL) vice president for sales, said Cebu is fortunate it isn’t affected by these travel advisories since it has marketed itself apart from the country.

“Cebu was able to promote itself like a ‘Republic of Cebu’ so that whenever there is a travel advisory to the Philippines, Cebu is not affected,” he said during the announcement of the airline’s new direct international and domestic flights flying from Cebu last Tuesday.

Uy described travel advisories to the Philippines issued by foreign governments as the only roadblock to opening the regions to more tourists.

Early in November, the US government issued a travel advisory to its citizens not to travel to southern Cebu due to threats of terrorism and kidnapping in the area, which were never confirmed. Business in tourism destinations went on as usual.

Uy said they always push their partners and clients to fly direct to cities in the provinces such as Cebu, Tagbilaran, and Cagayan de Oro.

He said that while he would like more tourists to visit the regions, especially Mindanao, foreign government-issued advisories discourage travelers from doing so.

The airline official gave this response when asked whether PAL was planning to launch direct international flights from the Laguindingan airport in Misamis Oriental.

Based on data collected by the Department of Tourism (DOT) from airports all over the country, the Philippines welcomed 5.4 million tourists in 2015.

Despite being considered conflict-torn in the wake of communist insurgencies and armed Moro separatist movements, Uy said there are a lot of beautiful things to be discovered in Mindanao.

He said Cagayan de Oro, in particular, has a lot to offer such as white water rafting, waterfalls, hot springs, and sand bars, among others.

“The advisories are the only roadblock, the only thing thrown at us whenever we tell them to fly to Cagayan, Davao, Zamboanga, or wherever in Mindanao,” said Uy.

Once the advisories are removed, he said the foreigners will come.


Uy revealed that PAL is currently in talks with charterers from China and South Korea planning to offer direct flights to Davao City, Mindanao’s largest settlement with a population of 1.6 million and the hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte where he served as mayor for 20 years.

The present administration is currently addressing the peace and order situation in the area, with Duterte vowing to pursue Mindanao peace talks at the start of his term.

Last Tuesday, PAL announced direct flights from Cebu to Singapore, Caticlan, and Clark (via Caticlan) starting December 16.

Uy said these new routes reinforce the airline’s commitment to grow and further expand their presence in Cebu.

The new Cebu-Singapore route will bring the total number of international destinations PAL flies to from Cebu to six by mid-December.

At present, PAL offers direct flights from Cebu to Los Angeles, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Incheon.

The two new domestic flights, on the other hand, will bring the total number of direct flights from Cebu to 10.

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