The opening of the airport in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental is seen to boost development, particularly in the tourism sector, in the southern part of the province.
“It will surely contribute to a significant increase in the tourist arrivals of Sipalay as well as other localities in the south,” Cristine Mansinares, provincial supervising tourism operations officer, said Thursday.
Sipalay, situated about 170 kilometers south of Bacolod, is known for its beaches and dive sites, attracting foreign tourists, including Europeans.
Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Sipalay City Mayor Oscar Montilla Jr. led the inauguration and blessing of the airport Wednesday, coinciding with the inaugural Sipalay-Cebu flight of Air Juan Aviation Inc.
The flight transported city councilors who attended the Philippine Councilors League assembly in Cebu.
Air Juan Aviation Inc., who was represented by president John Anthony Gutierrez during the opening rites, will have four flights weekly with nine passengers in every flight.
Two flights are between Sipalay and Cebu every Wednesday and Sunday, and two others during Monday and Thursday between Sipalay and Iloilo.
Marañon said the airport is a big boost to the tourism industry of Sipalay and its neighboring localities.
“The airport will play a vital role in the economic development not only of Sipalay but of the whole southern Negros,” he added.
The governor’s statement was echoed by Mansinares, saying the opening of the airport will make the trip of both tourists and residents easier and faster.
“It will open up more possibilities for other airline companies to consider Sipalay as their route,” she added.
For his part, Montilla said the airport will bring in more tourists and investors, and will put Sipalay and southern Negros on the tourism map.
“The airport will spur more developments in the city like the establishment of more resorts and accommodation facilities. We need to enhance and maximize the tourism potentials of Sipalay,” the mayor said.
Tourism and agriculture are among the major sources of revenues of the local government, he added. (Erwin P. Nicavera/PNA)