Skyjet partners with ABS-CBN to promote ecotourism sites
Donnabelle L. Gatdula (The Philippine Star) - June 28, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Skyjet Airlines, the country’s newest full-service budget-but-full-service airline, has signed an agreement with ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. (AFI) to jointly promote eco-tourism sites in the Philippines.

Joel Mendoza, Skyjet president and CEO, said the memorandum of agreement (MOA) with AFI would enable them to fly “high-end” tourists to other interesting tourism destinations starting September this year.

“We will be able to introduce Tablas in Romblon as another alternative tourism route to tourists. There are other areas in the country where we need to promote as a tourism destination. Skyjet and ABS-CBN Foundation are one in this goal to bring tourism in untapped areas of the country and improve the lives of the communities there,” he said.

Mendoza said the 100-percent Filipino-owned airline company would want to share this “advocacy” with AFI’s Bantay Kalikasan. In fact, he said they plan to beef up the airline’s fleet from only two to five in the next three to five years. An aircraft jet is priced between  $20 million to $40 million each.

“We are not here to compete with big airlines, we are here to complement them. There is a great imbalance in our tourism industry and we would like to help address this imbalance by servicing areas not being served by big airlines,” he said.

He said Skyjet is being groomed as a benchmark in the aviation industry in safety standards, customer care, and personalized service.

“By serving the niche destinations, regardless of passenger traffic, we endeavor to contribute to the country’s economy by boosting local tourism while advocating for the preservation of natural resources and cultural heritage,” Mendoza said.

AFI managing director Gina Lopez, for her part, said after Tablas, they look forward to eventually explore other sites under the Green Initiative project.

“There is no single person or institution that can bring this country forward but if there are many institutions and people that believe in their heart that this is the way to go and commit to it – in truth, in service and the common good – I have no doubt in my mind that our country is going to see a brilliant future ahead,” Lopez said.

The Green Initiative aims to save and sustain the environment while uplifting the lives of less fortunate communities through agriculture and livelihood programs – identical to Skyjet’s vision to promote cultural tourism and preserve the environment through active participation of private sector and local government units.

The 94-seater Skyjet airplanes can land in short runways and can connect passengers from Manila to other islands in the Philippines-where short and unimproved runways are always a challenge. Currently, Skyjet flies to Basco, Batanes; Busuanga, Palawan; and Virac, Catanduanes.

The collaboration with Skyjet, Mendoza said, would make Romblon more accessible to tourists.

Sibuyan Island, the world’s densest forest, is in the province and is one of the Green Initiative sites of Bantay Kalikasan.

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