The action is intended to reduce plane fares and lure Singaporeans to the Davao Region.
Scoot Tigerair, Singapore Airlines' low-cost subsidiary, now operates three direct flights every week from Davao to Singapore, with an average of one trip per day.
Ledesma, who recently returned from the Davao Business Mission in Singapore with some tour operators and representatives from the Department of Tourism 11 (DOT 11), stated that only two of the 35 Singaporean tour operators who attended the activity were able to visit Davao Region, while the rest have no idea what and where Davao Region is.
Ledesma went on to say that when DOT 11 regional director Tanya Rabat-Tan showed a video of Davao, Singaporean tour operators were amazed at how much there is to see in Davao Region.
"From the islands to the highlands, we have MICE facilities, resorts, and hotels; it was an excellent way to promote Davao Region." We can rally for airlines to have more connectivity to Davao so that the prices of going to Singapore and back would also go down because there's no doubt that they're really impressed with what they saw that Davao Region can offer it's just a matter of making it more enticing and making it easier and faster for them to reach Davao and better airline rates compared to other Asian destinations," Ledesma said during the P.E.
The said business mission aims to boost awareness among tour operators in Singapore and to entice them to visit Davao Region.
Ledesma said one of the challenges is proximity. She said even if the Singaporeans are open for travel, the question is why they should visit Davao, which is even with the direct flight is three hours and 10 minutes if direct flight from Davao to Singapore, but if via Manila, it’s three hours plus one and a half hours.
“Bakit sila magda-Davao when they can go to Bangkok for two hours or Bali, the proximity can also be a challenge and also because there are low cost flights offering Singapore to other Asian countries compared to Davao,” she said.
According to Pia Partoza, president of the Davao Visitors Destination Hub, infrastructure remains a barrier for the Davao Region's tourism business.
"Because you need infrastructure." According to DOT 11, "we hope to budget for the Davao International Airport Authority next year," she stated.
Former President Rodrigo Duterte passed legislation in September 2019 establishing the Davao International Airport Authority (DIAA) to oversee the Francisco Bangoy International Airport and other airports in the Davao region. The DIAA would be an associated agency of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and will be based at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City, according to the law.
Meanwhile, Ledesma stated that Singapore tour operators are searching for student cultural exchanges or immersions, with tour operators sending students to cultural immersion programs in Manila and Cebu but not Davao.
Partoza stated that the bulk of Singaporean tour operators' consumers are leisure travelers.
"It's a good opportunity for resorts lalo na may bago tayong offerings sa Davao Region," she stated.
Partoza also stated that some of the consumers of Singaporean travel operators are also Halal.
According to Ledesma, Halal is a benefit for them if a destination offers a Halal facility or eateries to ensure that their clients have access to meals.