DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/17 July) – Americans topped the list of foreign tourists that visited Davao City from January to May this year despite the travel advisory issued by the US Embassy against Mindanao, data from the City Tourism Office (CTO) showed.
Figures released by the CTO on Tuesday showed that 8, 851 Americans visited the city. Japanese tourists (4,941) came in second, followed by Chinese (3,957), Koreans (3,143), and Australians (2,875).
On April 13, the US State Department warned its citizens in the country to “exercise increased caution,” to avoid Sulu and Marawi City, and to reconsider travel to other areas of Mindanao due to “crime, terrorism, and civil unrest.”
The embassy required American citizens to obtain special authorization before traveling to Mindanao that also limits the “ability of the US government to provide emergency services to US citizens in Mindanao.”
The advisory said terrorist and armed groups continue to conduct kidnappings, bombings, and other attacks targeting US citizens, foreigners, civilians, local government institutions and security forces.
CTO head Generose Tecson said the advisory meant to warn their people of possible danger but did not in any way prevent them from coming to Mindanao.
“Perhaps, it’s because there are many Americans also here in Davao who have told them that it’s safe here and it’s a beautiful place to be in,” she said, adding there are many Americans who have Filipino spouses in the city.
From January to May, the city recorded a total of 977,714 visitors. Of this figure, 879,216 are domestic travelers, 70,702 foreigners and 27,796 overseas Filipinos.
Tecson added over 200,000 tourists are expected to visit Davao City during the month-long 33rd Kadayawan Festival in August.
This year’s budget for the festival is P44 million (P12 million from city government and P32 million from private sector partners), she said.
She said the Kadayawan Tribal village is also being prepped up for the festival but added they let the 11 tribes decide on what additional features they want to add to spruce up their respective houses.
There are six Moro tribes (Taosug, Maguindanaon, Iranun, Kagan, Maranao, and Sama) and five Lumad tribes (Klata, Ata, Ubo Manuvo, Matigsalog, and Tagabawa) in the city. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)