DOT: Travel advisories won’t pull down tourism in Mindanao

Sonia Garcia, director of the Department of Tourism office in Southeastern Mindanao, said that the region does not rely on foreign tourists, noting that only 10 percent of the area’s 600,000 annual visitors are foreigners.


While she admitted the advisories will have effects on the tourism industry, it is not “that much.”


Six persons died while 29 others were injured when a bomb exploded in Makilala town in North Cotabato on Oct. 10. Just a few hours before, four persons were also wounded in another bombing incident in Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat. Yet another bomb exploded in Cotabato City a day after, but none was reported injured.


Garcia said majority of the tourists, to this city for example, are businessmen. She noted that whatever happens, whether there is a travel advisory or not, the businessmen will come to Davao.


She said there have been no reports of cancellations of reservations as a result of the advisories. She also denied having received queries from the international community about the bombing incidents.


Thus, Garcia expressed confidence that they can still achieve DOT's projected 10-percent growth rate in tourist arrivals every year.


She said Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is "doing a good job" in handling the situation.


In February, the Mindanao Business Council has considered the issuance of travel advisories as bad especially to the investors who closely watch the peace and order situation in the country.


A month before that, Davao City played host to the ASEAN Tourism Forum. The city government banked on the publicity generated for the international travel and tourism forum to debunk the negative image of the city in the world.


Garcia said Davao has continued to emerge as a center for conventions and conferences for various organizations.