Davao prepares ‘Duterte tour package’

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/10 June) – A “Duterte tour package” is already in the works and could be released next month amid the growing popularity of the city owing to the election of City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte as the 16th president of the republic, an official said Friday.

Department of Tourism-11 director Roberto Alabado III said in a telephone interview that tourism stakeholders, including the tour operators, will convene this month to finalize the itinerary and the cost of the package.

He said they are eyeing to include, among others, Museo Dabawenyo, the Davao City Hall, the People’s Park and others areas frequented by several tourists.

“We may have to have a tour package solely for our president. (In his campaign) we have been showcasing ano ang mga nagawa nya dito sa Davao. We are thinking of creating a tour package, focusing on him and his accomplishments, ano ang life story niya… We can showcase him in the tour,” Alabada told reporters last month.

The 71-year old Duterte was elected mayor in 1988. He served as mayor until 1998, and again for three terms from 2001 to 2010. He served as 1st district representative from 1998 to 2001 and vice mayor to daughter Sara from 2010 to 2013. He was elected mayor again in 2013 until June 30, 2016.

Though an official record on tourists arrivals has yet to be released next month, Alabado said that big hotels here have reported an “above average” occupancy rate starting April, when Duterte’s ranking in the presidential surveys soared.

DOT-accredited hotels submit quarterly occupancy reports to the agency while some inns and pension houses don’t, Alabado said.

“People, who would like to know Duterte, would want to know the policies that he implemented in Davao which he planned to replicate in the country. Policies of the city can become an attraction by itself… kung ano ang mangyayari sa Pilipinas, i-replicate sa buong Pilipinas,” he said.

He said the increase was attributed to the victory of Duterte who attracted several tourists, including supporters and well-wishers who would come to see him.

“We now have some reports, including tourists who are just curious because of the publicity about Davao, his winning the election. We have a lot of positive news on what Davao is all about. Many are contemplating or have gone to Davao kung ano ang city ni Duterte,” he said.

The city has eight big hotels, Alabado said, but the number of rooms including that of small hotels and inns have already reached over 8,000. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)