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Official: Mati airport operation to help tourism industry

The government of Mati City has renewed its call for the revival of operations of its airport to help its tourism industry.

Tanya Rabat-Tan, investment and promotion officer of the city government, said Monday at the Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Davao-Annex that the operations of the airport will help the city achieve a higher growth of its tourist arrivals as the city attracted about 292,000 last year.

Rabat-Tan said an airline company has expressed its interest in utilizing the airport as alternative to the Davao International Airport.

“If this pushes through, it would be the first time to have commercial operations in the airport. The airport, at present, is utilized for private use. There were also chartered flights before,” Rabat-Tan said.

Rabat-Tan is part of the clan that owns the property as part the terminal of the facility is owned by the Rabat family while the runway belongs to the Rocamora family. The two families are part of the clan which is among the landed clans in the city.

Built during the time of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos, the airport was named after the wife of Mr. Marcos, Imelda who was a friend of the late Edith N. Rabat, wife of Francisco Rabat, who at that time was the governor of the province.

Rabat, uncle of Rabat-Tan, eventually became the first city mayor of Mati.

The airport, which has been sparingly used for recreational flying, has been pushed as an alternative to the Davao International Airport.

The Department of Transportation has bid for the establishment of barbed wire perimeter fence at a cost of P9.681 million.

The agency started the bidding process last month.

In a related development, Rabat-Tan said there are also two luxury hotel companies that wanted to venture in Mati City and that these companies are waiting for government to act on the proposal to revive the airport operations.

She said if the projects become reality, they increase the number of accommodation establishments from 11 hotels and 17 resorts in the city at present. “Investors are attracted to venture in the city with the influx of tourists,” Tan said. (KMF)

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