Tue, 18 Jun 2019

Sinulog 2019. A slight hike of air passenger arrivals at Mactan Cebu International Airport is expected as, for the first time in history, the Mardi Gras will have a guest contingent from Wonju City, South Korea. This observation is shared by officials from the Department of Tourism, GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp., and Sinulog Foundation, Inc. during a media forum initiated by the PIA. (PIA/Cebu)

CEBU, Jan. 9 (PIA)--Air passenger arrivals at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) are seen to increase by four percent within just a two-week period this January for the annual Sinulog festival.

Neneth Castillon, Terminal 1 Operations Head of the GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC), said that last year, there were 223,000 passenger arrivals, both domestic and foreign, that passed through the airport.

"This month, we expect the volume of air passengers to grow by four percent within a two-week period," said Castillon during the recent Association of Government Information Officers-Philippine Information Agency (AGIO-PIA) forum.

Castillon attributed the hike to the opening of Terminal 2 for international flights, expecting the volume of foreign tourists to come from South Korea with seven airlines operating direct daily flights from Korea to Cebu and vice versa.

Stephanie Villarica, marketing and promotions head of the Sinulog Foundation, Inc. said that for the first time, the Sinulog Mardi Gras will have an international guest contingent from Wonju City, South Korea.

This is the first time for the Sinulog parade to have a guest contingent from abroad as the guests will also showcase their country's culture through their dance performance, said Villarica.

On Jan. 17, three international flights will arrive carrying foreign visitors and balikbayans as a hearty welcome awaits them at the airport under the Balik Cebu program.

The program, on its 16th year, provides a traditional festive welcome to our balikbayans starting at the airport to dinner hosting until the Sinulog revelry.

Upon arrival at the airport, balikbayans and other foreign visitors will be given welcome drinks and will be serenaded by a rondalla, said Judy Gabato, chief tourism operations officer of the Department of Tourism (DOT) Central Visayas in the same forum.

Gabato said that aside from the Terminal 2 opening, the Bohol-Panglao International Airport will also contribute to the growth of passenger volume not only in Cebu but the rest of Central Visayas.

Villarica, on the other hand, said the preparations this year is just the beginning of a more elaborate preparation leading to 2021, considered to be a huge religious event as the year marks the 500th year of Philippine Christianity which started in Cebu.

Villarica said they are expecting a multitude of visitors in 2021 as the Sinulog is not only a tourism event but a religious one, paying homage to Senor Santo Nino, the Holy Child Jesus, which also reflects the Filipino culture. (fcr/PIA7)

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