PHILIPPINE AIRLINES (PAL) will boost the number of flights and add routes to China starting March, as the government targets to attract two million Chinese tourists annually.
In a statement, PAL said starting March 25, it increase the flights between the Philippines and Greater China to 103 times weekly, from the current 103 times weekly.
The flag carrier will start daily flights for Manila-Jinjiang, and Manila-Guangzhou (Canton) routes, from five times weekly on each route.
Data from the Department of Tourism (DoT) showed China was the Philippines’ second-biggest source of tourists in 2017 with 968,447 arrivals, 43% higher from the previous year.
The DoT attributed the higher number of Chinese tourists to “improved ties between the Philippines and China, added air routes, and the visa upon arrival (VUA) option for Chinese nationals.”
PAL said it will launch new flights to China in the next few months, particularly Tianjin, Shenzhen and Nanning.
The airline is also planning to mount direct flights to Puerto Princesa, Palawan from both Tianjin and Shenzhen, and to Boracay (via Kalibo) from Shenzhen and Nanning.
At present, PAL flies from Manila to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Macau and Xiamen. Its other routes include Cebu-Beijing, Kalibo-Beijing, Kalibo-Chengdu, Kalibo-Nanjing, Kalibo-Shanghai Pudong, and Kalibo-Hangzhou.
The government is hoping to attract more Chinese tourists this year.
“We’re expecting to double our tourist arrivals because of increased tourist arrivals from China,” Presidential Spokesperson Herminio Harry L. Roque , Jr. said during a briefing in Baguio City.
“Starting this month, in February, there will be direct charter flight from Xiamen, in Fujian Province in China to Puerto Princesa in Palawan. This is according to the Department of Tourism. In addition, the DoT reported that in order to provide better air connectivity from major tourist source markets to the Philippines, another new route from Tianjin China to Puerto Princesa in Palawan is already on its way,” he added.