DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 May) – A tourism official from Davao Region will join the Philippine contingent in a two-day business missions to Malaysia and Singapore next week to meet with travel agencies and tour operators to update them of the new tourism destinations here.
In Tuesday’s Davao Business Forum at the SM City, Department of Tourism (DOT) regional director Roberto Alabado III said that new destinations in the area that will showcased will include, among others, Talikud Island, Island Buenavista in the Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) in Davao del Norte, and Mt. Hamiguitan in Davao Oriental.
The team is slated to arrive in Kuala Lumpur on May 23 and Singapore on May 24.
He added that the tourism sector from Davao Region will need to update the travel agencies and tour operators in Malaysia and Singapore so that they can sell the region to their local tourists to experience the new destinations here.
“We will check and educate them how they can get here because many of them do not know where’s Davao, so they can communicate with their clients what we have,” he said.
Alabado said they want Davao to be considered as a major area for vacation among Malaysians and Singaporeans.
He said having elected Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte into the presidency will have some positive impact on the development of the tourism sector. “Our new president comes from Davao and Mindanao. I hope this event will provide us the opportunities to showcase Davao City and the region,” Alabado added.
He said the tourism industry here, when it reaches its full potential, can provide jobs and generate income, most especially to people living in the countryside.
“Tourism needs other industries as well. Ang mga turista kakain yan, it will generate demand para sa agriculture and hahanap sila ng souvenir items. That is why, I believe that the trickle down effect of the economy would be much much faster through this strategy,” Alabado said.
Last week, Carlos Dominguez, Duterte’s prospect finance secretary, presented the incoming president’s plan to “pursue a genuine agricultural development strategy by providing support services to the small farmers to increase their productivity, improve their market access, and develop the agricultural value chain by forging partnership with agribusiness firms.”
He also hinted about promoting tourism in the rural areas.
Alabado, who is an urban planner, said this will further the development of the rural development, most especially the local government units (LGUs) who have eco-tourism, cultural, and agri-tourism packages.
“All of these are in rural areas. The cultural villages can show the culture of the people. When we talk about development, I hope we can take advantage of these opportunities. Cultural tourism has a new name… It’s the time for us to go to the [indigenous peoples] and learn from them, how they cook, and their perspective on life,” he said.
Alabado said developing the countryside provides opportunities to develop employment for people there.