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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, January 11, 2013
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Flight from Korea
set to arrive today
BY CHRYSEE SAMILLANO

Only two Zest Air chartered flights, carrying mostly golfers from Korea, are arriving at the Bacolod-Silay Airport today and on Sunday, Bacolod City Administrator John Orola said yesterday.

Orola said the first flight will land at the Bacolod-Silay Airport at about 2:30 a.m. today after landing in Cebu City for immigration services three hours earlier.

He said the next chartered flight will arrive on Sunday and the Koreans will stay at the L’Fisher Hotel and Sugarland Hotel in Bacolod City for three days.

Mode Tour Network Inc., organizers of the 10 Zest Air chartered flights, carrying mostly golfers from Korea, that were set to directly land at the Bacolod-Silay Airport, had decided to cancel eight instead of seven of them, after Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. denied a request of Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia to provide immigration services at the airport, citing manpower and equipment restrictions.

Leonardia had written David that the Department of Tourism Iloilo is willing to loan the Bacolod-Silay Airport its computers with passport reading mechanism, yet the latter denied the Mayor’s request twice.

Orola said they will meet on Monday with members of the SKAL International Bacolod, National Independent Travel Agents Association (NITAS), Tourism Educators and Students of the Philippines, and other groups and civic organizations, who are supporting their cause, to come up with a manifesto of support.

He said they have the support of SKAL International-Makati Chapter president Bobby Joseph, NAITAS president Puspa Tan, and SKAL International- Bacolod Chapter president Pinky Hautea.

Orola, chairman of the Western Visayas Tourism Council and former attaché to Japan, wrote Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. Tuesday seeking his immediate assistance and intervention saying that, “David is not at all cooperative in making things easier for the implementation of the government’s tourism program, although two Commissioners have favorably endorsed the Mayor’s appeal.”

Meanwhile, Orola said the 10 flights that were to arrive in January and February, would have brought in 185 Korean tourists per flight, or a total of 1,850 staying for three days in Bacolod.

A conservative estimate is that each tourist would spend P3,000 a day, or P5.5 million for all 1,850 a day, times three days, for a total of P16.65 million in income infused into the local economy, he said.

Orola said they have already secured Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon’s approval and landing permits, and health personnel are available for the quarantine requirements.

All that is needed is David’s approval of at least two to three immigration personnel to man computers with passport-reading capability, he said.*CGS

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