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The Department of Tourism (DOT)7 is positioning Cebu as a key English as a second language (ESL) destination for Japanese tourists, an official said.

DOT7 Director Rowena Montecillo said the agency is targeting the Japanese market for ESL, with the opening of more direct flights between Cebu and key cities in Japan.

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Philippine Airlines is set to fly its Osaka-Cebu route daily, from just four times a week.

”The increased direct flights between Cebu and Japan could fuel more Japanese arrivals not only for ESL but also for leisure,” she said.

She cited the Cebuano’s fluency in the English language.

ESL studies in Cebu are also cheaper compared to other countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), she said.

Montecillo said she finds the Japanese market promising because the number of Japanese nationals taking up ESL in Cebu is not as significant as those of South Koreans.

She cited the Mactan expansion of QQ English, a Japanese-owned ESL company in Cebu.

Japanese students taking up ESL here stay from six months to one year.

There are also some who stay for only a week.

But compared to other foreign markets, the Japanese are high spenders, engaging in activities like diving and aqua sports, Montecillo said.

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