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Laoag Airport will soon get flights from China

The Laoag International Airport’s runway is now being expanded and lengthened in preparation for the return of visitors from abroad, particularly those from China.

While preparing for a trade mission and investment roadshow to China on May 16 to 20, 2023, Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc announced Thursday that the resumption of regular China flights to Laoag will be included in their negotiations.

“We want to welcome back our Chinese tourists and all other international tourists. Soon, our flights to China will increase, he promised.

The Laoag airport has been upgraded to Level 9 from its existing Level 7 category. A Category Level 9 airport permits wide-body Airbus 330 to land at the newly upgraded runway, according to airport manager Ronald Estabillo in an earlier phone interview.

In pre-pandemic times, Chinese nationals used to dominate Ilocos Norte’s foreign tourist arrivals based on records of the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO). From Guangzhou, China, some of them flew on chartered aircraft, and others flew on domestic ones.

The governor has revealed plans for the projected construction of a Chinese resort that will cater only to them for the time being.

“What we want is for them to build their own resort in the province to cater to their needs. For the Chinese market, we would like to facilitate one hotel or resort,” he continued.

A casino is anticipated to begin operations at the Fort Ilocandia Resort, and the Tourism Infrastructure while Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) has committed to enhancing the golf course at the Malacaang ti Amianan in Barangay Suba, Paoay municipality.

China, which has a consulate here, has maintained friendly ties with the Ilocos Norte government during the Marcos administration over the years.

The governor expressed hope that, as the entryway to East Asia, his team’s visit to China the next week will be able to persuade more Chinese businesspeople and other investors to increase their network here.

“I believe we can engage more on agriculture, infrastructure, tourism, education, and renewable energy to boost our economy,” he said, adding that China continues to become the country’s number one export market.

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