405,756 tourists visit Davao City in Q1

Tourists pose with President Rodrigo Duterte at the Magsaysay Park in Davao City in this file photo taken August 2016 by  Carolyn O. Arguillas

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 4 May) – Davao City tourist arrivals surged to 459,104 for the first quarter of 2017, higher by 13 percent compared to the 405,576 arrivals recorded during the same period last year.

Records from the City Tourism Office (CTO) showed that the bulk of the visitors were domestic tourists at 423,714, followed by foreign visitors at 29,889, and “balikbayans” at 5,501.

CTO head Generose Tecson told reporters during “Wednesdays’ at Habi at Kape” that “everybody looks to Davao as the place to go to and find out more.”

She said the city draws more tourists, this being the hometown of President Roa Duterte, who is the “top endorser.”

Tecson said they are launching tribal villages before the Kadayawan Festival in August as new additions to the community-based tourism the city tries to sell to visitors.

She said the Matigsalog and Ovu-Manuvu tribes in Marilog are ready to open their villages to the tourists. These two tribes are among the city’s 11 tribes – Kagan, Maguindanao, Maranao, Sama, Tausug, Iranun, Ata, Klata/Giangan, Matigsalog, Ovu-Manuvu, and Tagabawa.

“Kadayawan is about the 11 tribes,” Tecson said. Tourists, she pointed out, see the tribal people during the festival. “After that, they want to experience their tribe. Where will you take them?” she said.

Tecson added that community-based tourism will have the visitors immersed into the culture of the tribes.

She said the establishment of tribal villages will also be another alternative source of livelihood for the Lumads and preserve their culture.

“When we talk about community-based tourism, it means the ones who will handle it will be the community. Tribal villages, the kind that we want to establish, is what they already have. What they have and how they live are what we will experience when we go to their places,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)