22 May 2012
PHILIPPINE Airlines (PAL) has axed its Hong Kong-Kalibo flights less than a month after launch, indicating that China’s travel advisory against the Philippines is starting to impact the latter's already estranged Greater China market.
Introduced on April 27 to lure more Hong Kong travellers to Boracay, PAL scrapped the twice-weekly service on May 15, following the release of the travel advisory and Chinese travel firms’ suspension of tours to the Philippines (TTG Asia e-Daily, May 14, 2012).
A Manila-based travel consultant specialising in inbound from Hong Kong confirmed the flagging demand for PAL’s Hong Kong-Kalibo flights, explaining that China’s travel advisory, together with Hong Kong’s ongoing travel ban to the Philippines, contrived to make Hong Kong tourists avoid the destination altogether.
Sef Lam, director, Via Vai Travel Hong Kong, said: “Some of our (Hong Kong-based) clients do not feel comfortable going to the Philippines for holidays, saying that since we look (like mainland) Chinese, the Filipinos may treat us badly.”
“Emotions may run high, especially if there are demonstrations in the streets, and it would not be a good idea to be caught in a traffic jam with demonstrators nearby,” he added.
PAL is not the first carrier to suspend flights in the wake of the territorial standoff between Beijing and Manila. China Southern Airlines will halve its twice-daily Guangzhou-Manila services from May 26 – June 30, in anticipation of an expected drop in cross-straits traffic