“Cebu has many reasons to be thankful today,” said Cebu Provincial Tourism Officer Grace Paulino last December 1, 2013 before local journalists, bloggers, airport officials and personnel, and representatives of AirAsia Zest.
The AirAsia Zest maiden flight just returned from Kuala Lumpur and ceremonially doused with water moments after touch down. The plane earlier brought a group of Cebu journalists, bloggers, and tour guides for a familiarization tour in Kuala Lumpur.
Paulino noted that “shortly after the aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda, Cebu quickly became the hub for international relief and rehabilitation efforts. We know Asia’s biggest budget airline has mobilized to help the Visayas rise up again.”
“An additional international route should further strengthen our ability to accommodate both increased international aid and thousands more of tourist arrivals. I understand that the Cebu-Kuala Lumpur route is only the start for the establishment of more international routes. More than stimulating tourism in the Visayas and Mindanao, this only means Asia’s biggest budget airline sees economic strength and growth in Cebu and the rest of southern Philippines,” Paulino said.
Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) general manager Nigel Paul Villarete formally welcomed the new AirAsia Zest flight even as he anticipated more international flights within the month.
According to Joy Caneba, AirAsia Zest chief operating officer, “Our Cebu to KL flight provides yet another link for Filipinos and Malaysians in the areas of trade and commerce but more importantly, we hope to draw tourists from Malaysia to our amazing beaches and natural wonders in Cebu, Puerto Princesa, Davao, Cagayan de Oro amongst others. If we are able to draw even a fraction of Malaysia’s 25 million annual tourists, it will have a significant impact on our tourist arrival record, which translates to more jobs, more food on the table, more opportunities for every Filipino.
She then proceeded to announce two more international flights to be opened in Cebu.
“Staying true to our commitment to give more choices, better value and enhanced service, AirAsia Zest is pleased to announce that we are adding two new international routes from Cebu. Starting December 19, we will start servicing Cebu to Kota Kinabalu and by mid-December we will fly to Incheon, South Korea,” Caneba said.
“In partnership with AirAsia, we offer passengers not only our super affordable fares, the strength of our combined network between Korea and the Philippines that extends across 87 destinations in Asia including China, India and Australia but a world-class service and products that every Filipino, every Cebuano deserves,” she said.
Inspired by the example of AirAsia Zest, Paulino said, “We are Cebu. We are helping our neighbors recover. We all will rise higher than before. And we thank those who lent us a hand. We thank those who showed confidence in us. We thank AirASia Zest.”
AirAsia Zest to launch more flights from Cebu (www.abs-cbnnews.com)
AirAsia launches Cebu-KL flight (The Freeman)