GMR-Megawide sets up tourism task force

GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC), Cebu airport’s new operator, created a tourism task force to guide the local tourism industry.

Governor Hilario P. Davide III was pleased with the inclusion of province in the task force. Provincial Tourism Officer Grace Paulino of the Provincial Tourism Office will serve as a point person from the province.

The task force will be headed by Rowena Montecillo, Department of Tourism 7 director.

GMCAC President Manuel Louie Ferrer informed the governor about the creation and future actions of the task force in a courtesy call last November 12.

Members of the task force include the representatives of the cities of Cebu, Lapu-lapu and Mandaue, business organizations, and airline and tour operators.

Gov. Davide looked forward to the increase of tourist arrivals in Cebu with the Php 17.5 billion expansion and modernization project of the airport. He also talked about the possible establishment of more flights and routes under GMCAC’s management.

GMCAC took over the operation of the airport last November 1. It is expected to construct the new terminal building by the first quarter of 2015.

However, Ferrer hinted that there could be a possible delay in the construction of the airport’s Terminal 2 since the area is still occupied by the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

“The construction is scheduled to start by the first quarter of next year, pero (but) we can only start as soon as the PAF area will be vacated because that’s the area of the Terminal 2,” he said.

The area where the Terminal 2 is to be constructed is part of the lots owned by the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA).

MCIAA set aside Php 800 million for the replication of the PAF facilities in the Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base that will be affected by the GMCAC project to another property.

Ferrer said GMCAC participated in the bidding for the replication project so that they can beat the deadline for the construction of the Terminal 2.

The new terminal would drastically increase the airport’s handling capacity from 4.7 million to 12 million visitors every year. By 2017, the new terminal is expected to be operational.