BANTAYAN ISLAND, Cebu (PNA) – Bigger airplanes will land soon on this island as commercial operations of the Bantayan Island Airport are set to start by the end of 2020.

056467823 - Tourism in Bantayan Island reopens; new airport to start operations soon
Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia (second from right) led the inspection on Saturday (Oct. 17, 2020) at the ongoing construction of the Bantayan Island Airport’s 1.2-kilometer runway extension project. With her is Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority general manager Steve Dicdican (rightmost). (Photo courtesy of Cebu Provincial Capitol PIO)

Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, together with officials from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA), led the inspection on Saturday of the ongoing construction of the airport’s 1.2-kilometer runway extension project. 

The new Bantayan airport terminal project, located in Barangay Okoy, Santa Fe town, can accommodate 60-seater commercial planes.  

This comes as the Cebu provincial government officially reopened the tourism industry here after months of closure due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis. 

Garcia reiterated her stand on gradually reopening Cebu’s tourism industry to help the local economy bounce back. 

She said everyone, regardless of age, can visit the tourist destinations in Cebu province as long as they can provide the required confirmed tour site booking and two-way travel ticket.

She added all Cebuano tourists should not be given a hard time by requiring them with many documentary travel requirements.

Travelers will be required to present their confirmed booking at hotels and resorts after arriving at the ports here. These confirmed bookings will also serve as requirements for the purchase of the two-way boat ticket in going to the island’s tourism sites.

Considered as the “Paradise of the North”, Bantayan Island, particularly the town of Sta. Fe is highly reliant on tourism. 

Sta. Fe, one of the towns in Bantayan, was cited last year by the Department of Tourism (DOT) as the seventh most visited tourist site in the Philippines and the first in Cebu province.

Garcia underscored that reopening tourism is a priority as millions of Cebuanos whose income and livelihood were lost have been suffering since the start of the lockdown in March. 

“I don’t think anyone can accuse me now that I am making light of COVID-19 because I have suffered from it, and I continue to suffer because I have lost two brothers. And I continue to suffer as governor when I see the suffering of the Cebuanos precisely because of these restrictions that have been imposed for COVID-19,” Garcia said. 

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