The completion of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) expansion project should further boost Cebu’s attractiveness as a tourist destination, international real estate services firm Colliers said.
Targeted for completion in June next year, the P17.5-billion public-private partnership (PPP) project involves the construction of a new world-class passenger terminal building, the MCIA.
The new terminal will have a capacity of 12.5 million tourists per annum, almost triple the old facility’s original capacity of 4.5 million.
As of end-March this year, the MCIA project is already 51 percent completed.
“The upgraded terminal should entice more foreign airlines to mount direct flights to Cebu which has consistently ranked as among the most visited destinations in the country. In 2016, it attracted the largest number of domestic and foreign tourists, outranking other key destinations like Camarines Sur, Davao, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, and Palawan,” Colliers International said.
Aside from the expansion of MCIA, Cebu should entice more tourists over the medium term given the completion of other key infrastructure projects that will considerably ease travel within the city and its environs.
These projects include the Cebu-Cordova bridge and the proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system that is among the priorities of the Duterte administration.
“These major road transport projects should complement the rehabilitation and upgrading of national and local roads being undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH),” Colliers said.
Other key developments that should boost Cebu’s tourism industry include the lowering of airfares as airlines compete for bigger market share; approval of the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement in Air Services that allows Philippine air carriers to fly an unlimited number of times to the capital cities of other Southeast Asian countries; Cebu’s emergence as a key meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) destination.
“With growing interest in Cebu as a MICE destination in the region, we encourage developers to apportion a bigger space for conference rooms and other similar facilities,” said Gerard Padriga, general manager of Colliers International’s Cebu office.
“Cebu’s rising attractiveness as a tourist spot and growing competitiveness as an investment destination should support a 15 percent to 20 percent growth in tourist arrivals over the next 12 months,” Padriga added.