Durano, who personally experienced the "authentic taste" of the province's 8th T'nalak Festival here Wednesday, said the festivities, the province's ecotourism resources and modern leisure facilities have the potentials to become top tourism attractions, given the proper marketing and promotions.
"It's about time to take South Cotabato to the international tourism market and next year, I want to showcase your T'nalak Festival to the rest of the world," he said at the culmination program Wednesday of the T'nalak Festival, which coincided with the province's 41st Foundation Anniversary.Durano said he wants to replicate the DOT's successful promotion and marketing campaign for Davao's Kadayawan Festival last year in favor of South Cotabato’s T'nalak Festival. As a result of their marketing efforts for Kadayawan, he said, Davao City is now among the top fastest growing tourist destinations in the country along with Bohol and Boracay Island in Aklan.
He said Davao City is currently among the top contributors in terms of foreign tourist arrivals, which the DOT is projecting to reach at least three million by yearend.
Since March, Durano said at least 500 tourists from China and South Korea have been arriving every week at the Davao City International Airport through the three direct flights every week to Korea and Hong Kong to do some shopping, golfing and playing in its casino.
In South Cotabato, Durano said tourists may be interested with the festivities, trekking at Mount Matutum, nature-tripping in Lake Sebu and golfing at Kalsangi in Polomolok town.
He said another attraction could be a showcase of the rich cultural heritage of the T'boli tribe and its popular traditional woven cloth made of abaca locally known as T'nalak.
"These are the things that foreign tourists look for. We will just need to give them a good exposure in international tourism," he said.
Durano, who was awed with T'nalak's Madal Be'lan and Kadsagayan A Lalan street dancing showdown, said they would bring the winning contingents to festivals abroad that the DOT will be joining next year.
He said the DOT will shoulder the travel expenses and accommodations of all the members of the street dancing contingents that they will be bringing to various international campaigns.
"I'm only asking you, people of South Cotabato, to send through these street dancers, the spirit and soul of South Cotabato," he said.
Durano added that all he will make sure that all these tourism efforts would bring the needed development to the countryside and for the people to eventually benefit from them. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)