Accolades continue to rain on the Visayas region with Cebu, and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) once again scoring enviable ratings as Cebu and the Visayas Islands copped second place in a ranking of the world’s best islands, according to the prestigious Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards 2017, while the MCIA went up a notch to no. 13 among the best airports in the world.
Three Philippine islands make the list
Cebu was described as “not as wild as Phuket, Thailand with more personal ties and teeming with plenty of up-and-coming restaurants and shopping malls. The magazine also cited that Cebu was famous for its beaches on the mainland and in the surrounding islands.”
Copping the no. 1 spot was Boracay, a small island off Panay Island “famed for its white-sand beach and thriving nightlife scene.” Palawan was ranked third after placing no. 1 in 2014 and 2015.
Melanie Ng, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president declared that Cebu’s latest accomplishment should open up new opportunities as the place continues to attract more visitors.
“The increasing number of direct flights to Cebu is a sure way of getting more tourists to visit and enjoy our beautiful beaches, sumptuous food, and warm hospitality,” she said in a text message.
Ranking from four to 10 respectively are the islands of Mallorca, Spain; Mykonos, Greece; Bermuda; St. Barts; Turks and Caicos; and the Cayman Islands.
Carlo Suarez, president of the Hotel, Resort, Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) stated that Cebu’s latest ranking should be taken as an indicator that more tourists would be more interested to visit Cebu.
“Cebu is really at the peak of making waves as a premier destination. This is very timely as there will be more direct flights to Cebu due to the upcoming airport terminal. With this, we urge the community to take good care of our scenic beaches and other tourist spots so more local and foreign visitors will have the pleasure of enjoying Cebu at its best.”
Over 300,000 respondents sent in their choices to come up with the list, marking a new record for the magazine.
Cebu’s latest ranking is no fluke as Cebu has consistently placed among the Top Ten for more than a decade. In fact, another publication previously ranked Cebu as the second friendliest island in the world in 2016.
About the airport
Regarding the airport’s latest ranking, GMCAC (GMR-Cebu Airport Authority) President Louie Ferrer expressed exuberance, saying that rising from 14th to 13th place is a good indicator that they were on the right track as a developer. More excitement is in store when the new terminal opens in June 2018.
“Presently, we are focused on maximizing Cebu’s connectivity and ensuring that the airport is capable of handling the increasing traffic. We just launched three new flights to China and brought in two new international carriers. New domestic flights will be launched later this year. We also seek to promote to other untapped markets in other parts of the globe,” he declared.
Ferrer was referring to the entry of Juneyao Air, which recently launched three weekly flights to Xi’an City and Shanghai last Oct. 30. Another new airline, Okay Airways, added another three weekly flights to Xi’an.
Ferrer recalled that when GMR took over airport management in Nov. 2014, the airport had just seven international and 23 domestic destinations. Figures have since ballooned to its present day totals of 18 international routes and 35 local destinations.
By RICHARD RAMOS