Qatar Airways just included Cebu, Philippines among its 16 newest destinations as part of their aggressive expansion between 2018 and 2019.
This was announced by Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker at the ITB opening day in Berlin, the world’s largest travel trade show attended by almost 200 members of the international media. ITB is the largest international travel fair in the world.
“In addition to this we are expanding, we’re keeping on stretching our global network, we are increasing frequencies and we are doing other investments that will give us positive returns on our balance sheet,” Al-Baker said.
Aside from Cebu, Davao was also chosen among new destinations with direct flight service from Qatar Airways as part of their expansion plans in Southeast Asia. This expansion also includes Langkawi in Malaysia, Da Nang, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam.
It was not mentioned by the airline when specifically in 2018 or 2019 it will launch flights to Cebu and Davao, though.
In a press statement issued by the award-winning airline, Baker announced the routes that include Cebu and Davao in the Philippines and other cities in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Greece and Spain. They will also be the first ever Gulf carrier to begin direct service to Luxembourg.
As recalled, the airline holds an agreement with the Department of Transportation to add flights from Davao International Airport as a condition for mounting 4 more flights in Manila.
In addition, services to Warsaw, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City will increase to a double frequency daily and will triple for Madrid, Barcelona and Maldives.
In the Philippines, Qatar Airways currently only serve direct flight service between Hamad International Airport, its hub, and Ninoy Aquino International Airport weekly.
Baker said their planned expansion is a strong statement from the state-owned carrier about its “commitment to connecting travelers across all corners of the world in a way that is meaningful and convenient to them” and to push through with its “ambitious growth strategy” to give passengers as many choices as possible where international travelling is concerned.
Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism Region 7 (DOT 7) expressed its excitement with the announcement of Qatar Airways launching direct flights from Doha, Qatar to Cebu.
DOT-7 Regional Director Shalimar Tamano said this would mean a better access for international visitors coming from Middle East. It is one of the markets that their department has been wanting to grow, added Tamano.
Tamano added that he is hopeful this pushes through as DOT-7 is gearing up to be one of the world’s preferred destination for Halal Tourism Market specially that Cebu and Central Visayas have better connections to neighboring cities in the country.
On the same development, Cebu business sectors welcomed the plan of Qatar Airways as this would help further boost the tourism industry in Cebu as tourists can fly directly here, said Carlo Suarez, President of the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC).
“Having Qatar Airways back with us is very promising, which means we will be having an influx of tourists in Cebu. The tourism industry in Cebu looks bright this 2018,” Suarez said.
While the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) president, Stanley Go, believed that this is a great news for the business sectors in Cebu. The possible influx of passengers, tourists are growing- a very significant consideration for operations, he said