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Tourism to take a beating with airfare hike: execs

By NITZ ARANCON
Correspondent .

TWO former presidents of the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday frowned over the Civil Aeronautics Board’s move to allow Philippine-based airlines to reimpose fuel surcharges, saying that the first to take a beating with the increased air fares would be the tourism industry.

Aside from hurting efforts to promote tourism, businessman Efren Uy said carriers such as LBC and 2GO would be adversely affected by the move.

But Uy, a former Oro Chamber president and  now the group’s vice president for trade and commerce, said the air fare increase would have minimal effects on other businesses that don’t require much travel.

He said people would just need to adjust and cut on spendings. “Kon mahimo nga ang business transaction, ipa-aagi na lang sa cellphone, e-mail or unsa nga klasi sa social media, kana na lang sa atong gamiton. Dili nalang ta molarga kon dili gyud kaayo kinahanglan.”

On Monday, CAB approved the request of local airlines like Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air to re-impose fuel surcharges due to the increased cost of aviation fuel. These would be reflected on the fares for domestic and international flights this month.

The fuel surcharges for domestic flights could range from  P34 to P769, and P63 to as much as P9,680 for overseas travel.

Another former Oro Chamber president, Reuben Vegafria, said he thinks increased air fares would not hurt the business sector in general.

“Dili man gyud mahimo nga dili  mogasto ang mga negosyante, mogasto man gyud ta,” he said.

While it would be an additional cost, Vegafria said he doubts if the burden would be passed on by businessmen to consumers.

But Vegafria, also former head of Promote CDO, said the increased air fares would affect the tourism sector.

“Karang turista, gasto ra gyud ang daghan ana. Ma-o nang apiktado gyud sila  sa mahal nga plite sa eruplano,” he said.

Allan Farnazo, a former regional director of the education department here, said the increased air fares should make travelers plan their trips and buy tickets in advance in the hopes of availing of promotional discounts.

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