Chi­nese tourist ar­rivals in Cen­tral Visayas nearly dou­bled in 2017

Cebu Daily News - - ENTERPRISE - /RE­PORTER JOSE SANTINO S. BU­NA­CHITA

RE­LA­TIONS be­tween China and the Philip­pines, in­clud­ing Cebu, are ex­pected to con­tinue im­prov­ing in the com­ing months, es­pe­cially in terms of tourism.

Con­sul Gen­eral Jia Li, the newly ap­pointed con­sul of the Con­sulate of the Peo­ple’s Re­pub­lic of China in Cebu, said more Chi­nese tourists are see­ing the beauty of Cebu and its des­ti­na­tions.

“In the short time I have been in Cebu, I have seen the im­por­tance at­tached by the Philip­pine gov­ern­ment, Cebu’s gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and the Ce­buano com­mu­nity to China and the Philip­pines’ re­la­tions,” he said dur­ing a gath­er­ing with Cebu me­dia on Wed­nes­day.

One proof of this, Li said, is the steady in­crease in the num­ber of tourists com­ing to the Philip­pines and in Cen­tral Visayas.

The num­ber of Chi­nese tourists who vis­ited the re­gion in 2017 went up to 429,306, from 244,925 in 2016 and 128,356 in 2015.

The 2017 ar­rivals data rep­re­sented a 75.28 per­cent in­crease com­pared to 2016. This year, the num­ber is seen to con­tinue in­creas­ing.

“The Visayas' beaches, moun­tains, her­itage sites and other tourist spots have been too hard to re­sist,” Li said.

More flight to and from Cebu and main­land China have been opened.

Cur­rently, the Mac­tan Cebu In­ter­na­tional Air­port (MCIA) caters to about 10 di­rect flights to and from dif­fer­ent cities in China and Cebu.

With the open­ing of the Bo­hol Panglao In­ter­na­tional Air­port (BPIA) last week, Li said he ex­pects more Chi­nese tourists to come in and ex­plore the rest of the re­gion.

Li took over as Con­sul Gen­eral last Oc­to­ber. He re­placed former Con­sul Gen­eral Shi Yong.

Prior to be­ing as­signed to Cebu, Li had worked in the Chi­nese em­bassies in Bul­garia, Mace­do­nia, and Yu­goslavia.

Aside from tourism, peo- ple to peo­ple ex­changes have also flour­ished be­tween the two coun­tries.

Li said a num­ber of Ce­buanos and res­i­dents in the Visayas have availed of train­ings and sem­i­nars hosted by var­i­ous or­ga­ni­za­tions in China over the past few years.

“More of such op­por­tu­ni­ties are set to come. China val­ues friend­ship and right­eous­ness, and is will­ing to re­turn good­will for sin­cer­ity and be­come a good neigh­bor and good friend of the Filipino peo­ple,” Li said.

In terms of na­tional devel­op­ment, Li is also op­ti­mistic that the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment will con­tinue its part­ner­ship with the Philip­pine gov­ern­ment es­pe­cially with the re­cent state visit of China Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping.

Lo­cally, Li as­sured that the Chi­nese Con­sulate in Cebu will con­tinue to work closely with lo­cal gov­ern­ment units and other or­ga­ni­za­tions to ex­pand mu­tual co­op­er­a­tion.

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