Photo Courtesy: Phil JAC

The New Iloilo Airport at Cabatuan, Iloilo

News Blog about the New Iloilo Airport

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

New Iloilo airport to boost Panay tourism
By Jeehan V. Fernandez, 8/7/06

ECONOMIC Planning secretary Romulo Neri said the P6.2-billion new Iloilo airport which is nearing completion in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo will boost the tourism industry in Panay Island.

Neri, who is also the director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), was here last week together with Presidential Chief of Staff Mike Defensor to grace the awarding rites of the Regional Development Council’s (RDC-6) search for best public sector projects.

Neri said the national government has lined up several plans geared toward tourism promotions even as the ambitious mega-region program of President Gloria Arroyo has positioned Panay as among the tourism hubs in Central Philippines.

“There are excited prospects for the new Iloilo airport as we are bullish on Panay tourism,” Neri told reporters.

Neri explained that among government plans to improve the economy is the adoption of the “open skies” policy for the newly-built airport in Iloilo, just like the scheme being implemented in Clark.

Neri said the new airport will serve as “tourism magnet” and the country is expecting about 1.5 million visitors yearly. He added that around 50,000 tourists are coming from China alone.

The region’s tourism industry has been anchored on the world-famous Boracay Island which was visited by almost half a million tourists last year.

The new Iloilo airport which is expected to operate next year is considered as gateway to Boracay and other local tourist spots in the region. Iloilo, being the host of the airport, stands to benefit from the influx of tourists visiting the region.

In a related tourism-focused campaign, Ben Jimena, executive assistant to City Mayor Jerry Treñas, said that Iloilo will hold the Western Visayas Tourism Assembly (WVTA) October 26 - 29.

Jimena said the event, which aims to promote the tourism potentials of the region, will showcase travel exhibits, festivals parade, cultural presentations and destination booths.

“We are expecting greater cooperation among stakeholders, a grander celebration and more visitors to come over,” Jimena stressed.


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