BCDA to push redev't of airport in La Union

By Louella D. Desiderio, The Philippine Star

Posted at Nov 30 2012 07:55 AM | Updated as of Nov 30 2012 03:55 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and its subsidiary, the Poro Point Management Corporation (PPMC) is planning to push through with the redevelopment of the San Fernando Airport in La Union in a bid to promote the north as a destination for tourists and investments.

In a statement yesterday, BCDA president and chief executive officer Arnel Paciano Casanova said the BCDA’s plans for the airport includes the resumption of commercial flights, renovation of facilities, and the operation of the airport and a mall.

“Developments are coming to the north, and having an operational airport here will bring in more visitors and investors,” he said.

“Soon, this airport will be an engine of growth, and the city will be one of the gateways of economic development,” he said further.

PPMC president and chief executive officer Florante Gerdan said San Fernando (La Union) is not just a gateway, but a tourist destination in itself with spots like the Thunderbird Resort, the Poro Point Lighthouse and the new annual attraction, Sillag Festival of Lights.

La Union vice governor Augusto Nisce said the provincial government supports the BCDA’s plan of redeveloping the San Fernando Airport.

“(The) province is committed to partnership with (BCDA),” he said.

John Hay Management Corporation president and chief executive officer Jamie Eloise Agbayani, likewise expressed support for the project as it is seen to solve the main problem of Baguio City which is accessibility.

Agbayani said the project would not only serve Baguio and San Fernando, but the whole Northern Luzon.

Citing data from the Department of Tourism’s Region I office, senior tourism officer Evangeline Dadat said Pangasinan was the only province in the region that had an increase in tourist arrivals in 2011.

She said that pursuing the redevelopment of the airport is expected to lead to higher tourist arrivals in the region.

The redevelopment of the airport is likewise seen to result in more competitive tourist establishments and products there.

Tourism is among the sectors being pushed by the government to achieve higher economic growth.