Bohol banks on new ‘eco-airport’ for tourism push

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 27 2018 01:34 PM

The new Bohol-Panglao International Airport can cater to up to 2 million passengers yearly. Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

PANGLAO - Bohol eyes to double its tourist arrivals by 2020 with the opening of its new international airport, a local government official said Tuesday.

The Central Visayan province aims to lure over 2.2 million tourists in the next 2 years with the help of the new Bohol International Airport in Panglao Island, Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio II said.

“We’re looking at double arrivals given the airport capacity,” he said.

“Bohol is an eco-tourism destination. We have a lot of destinations to offer,” he added.

Bohol, which was rocked by a deadly magnitude 7.2 earthquake in 2013, has recorded 1.2 million tourist arrivals so far this year, drawn by its attractions such as the Chocolate Hills, the tarsier sanctuary, and its beaches, among others. 

The province is banking on the “eco-airport” branding of its newest gateway to boost tourism.

“It (new airport) will boost and even advance Bohol. It will take advantage of our tourism industry here,” Damalerio said.

On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte will inaugurate the new airport, dubbed by the government as the “green gateway to the world.”

Lined with glass windows, the airport makes use of natural light at daytime in most areas and only operates the air conditioner in limited places such as the waiting area for passengers. 

It also features pinewood-inspired ceilings, a sewage treatment plant, a solid waste disposal system, and solar panels which could supply over 30 percent of its passenger terminal’s power needs.

Spanning 13,337 square meters, the new airport can hold up to seven airplanes at a time, including larger ones for international flights.

The Department of Transportation said the new gateway could accommodate over two million passengers annually, more than double the 800,000 annual passenger capacity of the old Tagbilaran airport.

The Panglao gateway will start domestic and international flight operations on Wednesday and will replace the old Tagbilaran airport.