Int’l airport in carabao island to help Boracay tourism



 In one of the sidelines during the 2nd Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)Tourism Congress (the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar & Cambodia) at the Cebu International Convention Center in Cebu City held June 14-15, 2007, Department of Tourism Secretary Joseph Durano, remarked that the Korean company, which was awarded with the rights to build an international airport in Carabao Island which is very near Boracay, will finally break-ground in the 4th week of June 2007.


 He stressed that the department is well on its way to implement marketing road-shows in the departments marketing target markets starting in Japan in July 14 & 15, 2007 (at the chic Tokyo landmark Yoyogi Park), South Korea, the USA, China & Hong Kong (DOT participated in the International Travel Exposition –ITE last June 14-17 at the HK Convention & Exhibition Center) the top five sources of tourist arrivals to the country in 2006. With the departments target of 3.5 million tourist arrivals for 2007, the government will be implementing multi-billion pesos, short-term as well as long term infrastructure projects, the centerpieces of which are increasing the number of quality-standard rooms in the next 3-5 years, which he reckon will primarily be coming from private investments and opening the skies to increase airline seats to and from the Philippines, said Sec. Durano. He said improving existing airports and putting-up new ones in tourism super region Central and Western Visayas is a major component of the ultimate goal of increasing international airline seats. It will entail convenience to international tourists by escaping the existing entry/exit international airports of Manila and Cebu. The newly built, multi-billion peso Iloilo International Airport which opened in June 2007 and the ground-breaking of the planned Carabao International Airport are concrete manifestations of the governments thrust in forwarding these tourism-infra programs. Durano further said, The Carabao island project, a private investment by EURO ASIA and GROUP HOLDING, a Korean conglomerate headed by Byoung-Youn Park, is the first of its kind in the ASEAN region wherein a private foreign investment will undertake a multi-faceted tourism project that will include an all-weather international airport, a marina, 27 hole championship golf course, 1,500 room hotel and resort, retirement villages and recreational facilities. The implementation of the Carabao Island International Airport augurs well for the tourist destination island of Boracay, which is presently served by Caticlan Airport (15 minutes boat ride to Boracay) and Kalibo Airport (1 hour drive to Caticlan). During the said Tourism Congress, Mr. Lito Cubillas, Co-Managing Director of Boracay Transpacific Properties which is currently developing condominium-hotels in Boracay, conferred with Sec. Durano that the planned airport in Carabao Island, is a welcome news for the existing hospitality/tourism players in Boracay. Mr.Cubillas said am sure that our chamber (Boracay Chamber of Commerce) and the local government will support the airport project in Carabao Island.

Cebu Pacific Airlines, the low-cost airline of the Gokongwei Group and a rapidly-growing regional player, is buying short haul, propeller aircrafts that (might) compete with Seair and Asian Spirit in the lucrative Manila/Boracay/Manila & Cebu/Boracay/Cebu routes.


 Mr. Avelino Zapanta, President of Seair and who was seated in the same table as Mr. Cubillas, during the luncheon forum sponsored by Sec. Durano, subtly argued that existing airlines serving the smaller islands in the archipelago, are not, per se, against developing the small airports into ones that will be capable of handling bigger jets. In the same forum, Mr. Jun Palafox of Palafox & Associates (who is involved with major projects in Dubai), said, The next phenomena in world tourism play is the aeropolis wherein centers of development will have mega airports as their centers of catalysts, while in the 60s it was railpolis (trains and tracks) and the 80s it was seapolis (boats and ports).  He suggested connecting most of 7,100 islands in the Philippine archipelago via airports; Mr. Zapanta can only nod in silent agreement.