Region 12’s tourism gets a boost during 2017 Travel Mart

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 5 Sept) – Region 12’s thriving tourism industry received a major boost after drawing positive reviews at the 2017 Philippine Travel Mart (PTM) held last weekend in Pasay City, the Department of Tourism said.

Asik-asik Falls in Alamada, North Cotabato continues to be one of Region 12’s top tourist drawers. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

Nelly Nita Dillera, DOT-12 director, said Tuesday the region took the spotlight at the annual travel mart after putting up anew the best booth among the country’s 17 regions.

She said Region 12’s “SOX Pavilion,” which featured the region’s “best of the best” products and tourist attractions, received the best booth award in the regional category.

Also known as Soccsksargen, Region 12 is composed of the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato, and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

The 28th PTM, which was themed “50 Shades of Fun,” was held Sept. 1-3 at the Mall of Asia’s SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

It was joined by tour operators, hotels and resorts, local government units (LGUs), corporate sponsors, and other tourism stakeholders from the different parts of the country.

During the event, DOT-12 and the local tourism stakeholders gave prospective visitors a glimpse of the area’s history, culture and top destinations through various cultural performances.

Dillera, who headed the region’s delegation, said the showcase was a collective effort of the area’s LGUs and tourism stakeholders.

She said the participating LGUs exerted all efforts to promote the region as a top destination for domestic and foreign tourists through its world-class products and attractions.

“The region’s strength is in the collective effort of our stakeholders,” Dillera said in a statement.

Among the featured destinations were the famed white sand beaches of Glan in Sarangani; paragliding sites in Sarangani and South Cotabato; bird sanctuary in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat; the scenic Lake Sebu in South Cotabato; and Asik-Asik Falls, Mt. Apo and other ecotourism sites in North Cotabato.

The official said they are hoping to develop and showcase more fresh attractions in the various parts of the region.

She said they are currently working with various LGUs for the development of their tourism plans and destinations.

Dillera said they are also conducting a series of trainings for stakeholders, among them on selling of tour packages and improving various frontline services.

DOT-12 has adopted “SOX” or short for Soccsksargen as the region’s moniker for its tourism promotion and marketing activities.

Its current campaign is dubbed “SOX is next,” which showcases the region as a next top destination for tourists.

During the first half of the year, the region recorded around 2.5 million in tourist arrivals that was up by 21 percent from the same period last year. (MindaNews)