The Seoul – Tagbilaran – Seoul Philippine Airlines (PAL) daily flights got off the ground on Thursday, June 22, 2017 with the inaugural leg taking off at the Tagbilaran City Airport at 5:20 PM with six Bohol-based travel agents making history as they boarded a PAL Airbus 320 for the four hours and 39 minutes flight time to Incheon International Airport in Seoul, South Korea.
The return trip on June 23, 2017 took off at Incheon International Airport at 2:30 AM with a full capacity flight of 150 Koreans perked up by the “Behold Bohol” destination branding campaign of the Province of Bohol.
The arrival of PAL Flight PR 1483 at the Tagbilaran City Airport from Seoul at 6:30 AM heralded the entry of Bohol in the international air routes months ahead of the opening of the PhP7.8 billion New Bohol Airport heading into completion in March, 2018.
The six Boholanos who made the historic flight to Incheon International Airport were members of the Bohol Federation of Travel Tours Operators (BOFETTO) led by their president, Lourdes Sultan of Travel Village.
The seven-man Bureau of Immigration (BI) personnel impressed the Korean tourists with an average 21 second processing time of travel documents despite cramp conditions at the city airport.
BI Associate Commissioner Tobias Javier told the Korean travel agents and media that the BI personnel were aiming at a 40 per second processing time but successfully trimmed down the process ensuring a hassle free entry for the visitors.
SAFE AND ENJOY
Governor Edgar Chatto, during a press conference at Amorita Resort in Tawala, Panglao assured the Korean media and travel agents that the peace and order situation in Bohol is back to normal with no less than Philippine Army General Arnulfo Matanguihan giving his commitment to making Bohol a viable tourist destination.
Top PAL officials led by Atty. Siegfred Mison, Senior Vice President and Corporate Counsel exuded confidence that the direct flight will boost the fast- growing Korean tourist market access to Bohol.
The Koreans ranked second after the Chinese among the most number of tourists visiting the province with tourist arrivals hitting 820,640 in 2016.
In attendance during the press conference were 1st District Congressman Rene Relampagos, Tagbilaran City Mayor Baba Yap, Acting Provincial Administrator Atty. Mitchel John Boiser, Cesar Montano, Chief Operating Officer of the TourismPromotions Board, Jin Woo Jung, President, PAL Korea, General Service Agent.
The Korean media delegation was led by Seong Heui (Sunny) Pyeon, editor/CEO of Travel Insight, Jang Sik Park, Business Team Manager of Naver Tour and Seung Kyu (Starsky) Park, Chief Strategy Officer of Rakso Holdings Co. Ltd., PAL Korea General Service Agent.
The Tagbilaran-Seoul (Incheon) all-in round trip economy fare is USD421 with daily departures to Seoul at 5:20 PM arriving at 11:25PM while departure to Tagbilaran at 2:30AM arriving at 6:00 AM.
Distance from Tagbilaran to Incheon is 3,100 kilometers. Tagbilaran time is one hour behind Seoul. (Chito M. Visarra)