Tourism industry must ride the Duterte fame – DOT 11

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 May) – Riding on the fame of incoming President Rodrigo R. Duterte, a top tourism official called on cities and municipalities in the Davao Region to start drafting their own tourism plan to guide the development of the industry in the coming years.

“This is the opportunity for us to market our destinations because what they may know about the city are the beaches. With renewed interest, we are able to inform the public that there’s more to Davao,” said Department of Tourism regional director Roberto Alabado III during Tuesday’s Davao Business Forum at Dermpath in SM City.

Alabado said that the tourism plan should indicate the potential attractions and infrastructure in the locality that must be developed to attract both domestic and foreign tourists.

He emphasized that tourism development will have a snowballing effect to other industries, including agriculture and the hospitality business.

Alabado said the DOT has already provided the tourism offices with a guidebook to help them come up with a tourism plan. However, very few have existing plans while others are still updating, he noted.

The region is composed of six cities and 43 municipalities.

Alabado clarified that LGUs are not required to make a tourism plan but it will be beneficial for the industry’s growth if they have one in place.

“If they see tourism as part of their priority, then they should come out with a plan,” he said,

Alabado said that they are expecting that more tourists will visit Davao Region after the victory of Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, a lone Mindanawon candidate, in the May 16 presidential elections.

Reports on the city will create a buzz that will raise the curiosity of the tourists that will make them want to see for themselves the hometown of the country’s incoming president, he pointed out.

The official said that tourism attractions in others parts of the region must also be highlighted. These include Talikud Island (a small island off Island Garden City of Samal), UNESCO world heritage site Mt. Hamiguitan in Davao Oriental, and Kapatagan, an upland community in Davao del Sur.

Having elected a president from Mindanao will make other countries reconsider their negative travel advisories on the region, he said.

“Because of exposure and the reports coming from Mindanao, governments will reassess the situation. We have a president who is bent on restoring peace and will make Mindanao safe for tourists. It will help improve advisories in the region,” he said.

On Duterte’s eight-point economic agenda, Alabado noted the new administration’s interest to develop the rural areas and the tourism industry.

His fourth economic agenda will be 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.”

Alabado said the rural areas are where most of the destinations abound such as eco-tourism, cultural, and agricultural tourism.

“I believe tourism can provide more jobs and generate more income in the countryside. Tourism needs other industries as well,” he said.

Tourists would spend for food and souvenir items, giving livelihood to the small and medium enterprises, Alabado said.