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PIA Press Release

Sabah, Southern Mindanao tourism link forged

by Prix D Banzon

Davao City (16 November) -- A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was forged between the Sabah Tourism Council and the Southern Philippines Tourism Council to ensure that both sectors support each other's tourism linkages.

Mary Ann Montemayor, chairperson of the BIMP EAGA Tourism Council told Davao reporters that at the Travel Exchange (Travex) held in Kuching, Malaysia allowed both councils to strengthen their partnership.

She said with the continuing collaboration between the tourism industry players there is a plan to converge again in Davao on February 2008 for the airlines sectors and other players to finalize their tourism packages.

Montemayor said that after the holding of the 1st BIMP EAGA Airlines Forum there were already airline companies that considered opening new routes within the sub region, one of these companies is the Pacific Airways. The companies if pushed through will be among the existing airlines that are serving the EAGA routes like the Silk Air, Asian Spirit and Sriwi Jaya.

"Servicing the routes regularly would allow tourists to come because they often with look at connection," she said.

But she stressed that the airline companies must also study the routes so that there will be no duplication even as she said that the entry of new airlines within the BIMP EAGA would improve the traffic.

"In Kuching alone their tourists' arrivals in 2006 was about 3 million and that figure was already the country's target for this year," she said.

She said given the connections it is already a big boost to the industry if a small portion of that number be lured to come to us.

Among the island in the sub region she said Mindanao offers a lot of activities to tourists and businesses firstly because the Davao Region has been known as the convention center of the south.

The island is hosts to many of its uniqueness with Zamboanga Peninsula for its flowers and beautiful sunsets, splendors of Northern Mindanao, SOCKSARGEN exotic nature and culture, adventure in Caraga, Palawan's last frontier and cultural enchantment in ARMM.

She said with the sub region pushing for tourism there has now an in-country support measures such as the unilateral implementation of an incentive programmed for the transport sector for a 50 percent discount of some airport transport fees and charges, the extension of travel tax exemption from 2006-2008, and the unilateral application of the BIMP EAGA UPT Rate between RP-Malaysia shipping services.

During the 1st BIMP EAGA Airlines Forum, the tourism sector came up with recommendations in order to maximize borderless travel in BIMP-EAGA for the small and low cost airlines are encouraged to operate along the sub region, promote code-sharing with national flag carriers, encourage formalizing with own stop-over rights and joint-venture investments.

The following priority routes for air services were also recommended as follows between Bandar Seri Begawan-Kota Kinabalu-Davao City, Bandar Seri Begawan-Kuching-Pantianak, Bandar Seri Begawan-Kota Kinabalu, Bander Seri Begawan-Kuching. (PIA) [top]

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