PUERTO PRINCESA, Palawan – Jeju Air, touted as South Korea’s first and largest low-cost airline, will open its direct flights from Incheon to Puerto Princesa starting March 2024.
Demetrio Alvior Jr., chief of the City Tourism Department (CTD), told reporters on Tuesday the new route is partly the result of collaboration between the city government and the South Korean Embassy in Manila. .
Alvior disclosed that South Korea’s ambassador to the Philippines will visit Puerto Princesa “very soon” to finalize plans for this direct Incheon flight. He said this development will open the floodgates for the arrival of thousands of tourists, and highlight the city’s status as a key transport hub.
South Korea today is the Philippines’ largest tourist market. More than a quarter or 1,439,336 of the country’s 5,003,475 foreign tourist arrivals last year were South Koreans.
“South Korean tourists are eager to return and prefer the route from Jeju Island to Taipei to Puerto Princesa City, as it doesn’t require a visa. Starting March, direct flights from Incheon will be available via Jeju Air,” Alvior said.
The city government is confident the arrival of large numbers of Korean tourists will help rejuvenate Puerto Princesa’s tourism which has not fully recovered yet from the pandemic slump. Alvior said South Korea is a huge tourism market, and its citizens can potentially give the local hospitality sector some much-needed business.
“Korea is now turning its attention towards Puerto Princesa,” he said, adding that they are now also working with the Department of Tourism (DOT) to arrange a familiarization trip for South Korean journalists and business figures interested in investment opportunities in Puerto Princesa. (PNA)