AROUND 336,000 passengers are expected to arrive at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) during the Sinulog week from Jan. 10 to 19, 2020, according to the projected figures of the airport’s private operator GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Inc. (GMCAC).
“We are projecting a 15 percent increase in traffic count versus last year or a total of 336,000 passengers departing and arriving in MCIA via domestic and international flights next week for the Sinulog,” said Avigael Ratcliffe, corporate communication officer of GMCAC.
Of the total expected passengers, some 174,000 are foreign tourists while 162,000 are local passengers.
In 2019, MCIA recorded total passenger arrivals of 292,812 during the Sinulog week.
Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority public affairs chief Mary Ann Dimabayao said they already anticipated the increase of arrivals and that they will implement heightened security measures for the welfare of the passengers leading up to the Sinulog celebration.
“We will start our Oplan Biyaheng Ayos for Sinulog 2020 on Jan. 10 to Jan. 24. This is our heightened alert status because we are expecting the influx of tourists because it’s on a weekend,” she said.
Dimabayao said they will activate the airport’s help desks which will be manned by first responders from the rescue and fire division, airport police and customer service agents both at Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.
Balikbayans and tourists will be greeted upon arrival on Thursday, Jan. 16 to formally welcome them to Cebu and to encourage them to join in the Sinulog festivities.
Meanwhile, besides the aggressive promotions for the month-long Sinulog celebration, the Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 will also grab the opportunity to market to foreign guests the upcoming 500th year celebration of the discovery of Christianity in the Philippines that will be celebrated in Cebu in 2021.
“We’re promoting it in Europe and we’re hoping now to intensify the promotions so we can pull in more visitors especially for 2021,” she said.
She said the tourist arrivals, both foreign and domestic, continue to increase every year.
The DOT 7 also expects local pilgrims from far-flung areas of Luzon and Mindanao to join the 2021 celebration. (JOB)