The turn-over of operations and management of the new Bohol Panglao International Airport (BPIA) continues to be delayed while no marketing efforts are made to invite international airline companies to start their chartered flights here.
Undersecretary Bong Bengzon of the Department of Tourism (DOT) issued the concern after hearing there are no additional flights since the new airport opened 10 months ago.
The DOT ranking official represented Tourism Secretary Puyat during the opening of the Philippine Travel Mart which will end today at the SMX in Pasay City.
Bengzon assured Gov. Art Yap that the DOT will initiate the meeting with international airline representatives in order to formally push for the marketing the new airport to be part of their tourist destinations.
The DOT official cited the case of Mactan International Airport where the number of flights almost doubled when the Indian financed GMR Megawide Consortium took over the airport management including the marketing to the international airline companies.
Bengzon declined to comment on what could be the reasons behind the delay in the turnover from the government to Aboitiz which is the lone entity that expressed intent to operate the new Bohol airport.
Reports reaching the Chronicle indicated that if no “powerful” interventions be tapped the much-awaited turnover would continue to be delayed.
The Aboitiz documents are presently stalled at the Department of Finance (DOF) for reasons the tourism industry players would wish to know.
Meanwhile, a Bohol sales team composed of government and private sector which recently attended the Silk Road International Fair in Guangzhou learned that China Eastern Airlines is interested to fly direct flights to Bohol Airport.
Until today, no additional flights have been fielded by Philippine Airlines, Air Asia and Cebu Pacific to and from the new Bohol Airport. Much more, no international flights have started to fly here.
In fact, the daily flight from Incheon, Korea has temporarily stopped.
However, Gov. Yap during his dialogue with tourism stakeholders from Bohol and Manila at the SMX Conference Room last Friday cited that figures showing tourist arrivals increased over the past three years even before the opening of the new Bohol Airport last November.
The governor expressed concern on figures that some resorts in Panglao are still awaiting for more tourists’ arrivals citing the need to maximize the capacity of the new Bohol Airport.
He requested Usec. Bengzon to help organize the meeting with airline companies to market the new airport.