‘Duterte top endorser of Davao City’

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/02 January) – The city’s tourism has benefited from the advantage of having become “Exhibit A” of the new administration with President Rodrigo R. Duterte himself as the “top endorser” to domestic and foreign tourists, according to City Tourism Office (CTO).

CTO officer-in-charge Generose Tecson, said in an email that they expected a 15- to 17-percent increase in tourist arrivals for 2016 but added the hotels are yet to submit reports.

“PRRD (President Rodrigo R. Duterte) has been the city’s no. 1 endorser, so who could resist him?” she said.

She said more conferences took place in the city in 2016, as private tourism partners made efforts to push the city as a premier location for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE).

MICE Davao chair Ken Kapulong said at least 13 major conferences were held in 2016 compared to nine in 2015 that availed of the MICE program of the Department of Tourism (DOT) 11.

MICE allows visitors to enjoy a slew of incentive travel packages aimed at encouraging event organizers to hold their conferences and events in the city.

“The list (2016) does not include those conventions that did not avail of the program but still materialized,” Kapulong said.

DOT 11 director Roberto Alabado III said the entire Davao Region as well experienced a deluge of tourists and added that it must sustain its promotion campaigns on MICE program.

“PRRD’s various meetings in Davao has increased the MICE tourist arrivals which in turn provided business to our tourism stakeholders – hotels, restaurants, convention centers, transportation, resorts and even our pasalubong vendors and spa services,” he said.

Tecson added that the Duterte administration must work on improving the F. Bangoy International Airport, specifically the rehabilitation of its terminal and additional taxiway.

“Then, of course, we need help with more connectivity especially international (flights), although we also need to encourage more investments in the area of accommodations – more hotel rooms preferably international hotel chains in the city as well as convention facilities,” she said.

She added the new administration must put in place a more sustainable tourism development plan.

“They need to help LGUs understand that there is more to tourism than putting up of hotels & resorts or opening up of new destinations, because we need to take care as well our natural resources, so the tourism development can be beneficial to the communities,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)