DOT Western Visayas director Helen Catalbas said the Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have been conducting market studies on flights between Incheon in South Korea and Iloilo.
“This is a feasible venture because of the significant volume of Koreans and Filipinos traveling between the two destinations,” Catalbas told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Tuesday.
DOT records showed that about 209,000 Koreans went to Western Visayas including 9,497 to Iloilo in 2012 alone. Chartered flights from Korea to Bacolod City brought 37,736 Korean tourists.
Catalbas said direct regular flights between Korea and Iloilo could cater to both inbound and outbound travelers not only for Western Visayas but destinations with flights to and from Iloilo. These include the cities of Tacloban, Puerto Princesa, Davao and General Santos.
Most of the Koreans traveling to Iloilo are students, families and businessmen.
The Iloilo airport opened to direct international flights in November last year with the start of direct flights between Iloilo and Hong Kong and between Iloilo and Singapore.
The DOT in Western Visayas has recorded increasing tourist arrivals on the direct flights.
Visitor arrivals on direct flights from Singapore and Hong Kong in January reached 2,255, including 1,905 Filipinos and a total of 1,991, including 1,575 Filipinos, in February.
These followed the 1,510 arrivals, including 1,296 Filipinos, in November and 3,219, including 2,837 Filipinos, in December last year, according to DOT data.