Davao still without tourism master plan

Davao Tourism Office head Generose Tecson. MindaNews photo by ANTONIO L. COLINA IV

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/24 July) – City Tourism Office head Generose Tecson expressed disappointment over the delay in the drafting of the Davao City tourism master plan, which will set the development direction of the industry.

Tecson said during Wednesdays’ Habi at Kape media forum that local tourism officials will be meeting with representatives from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) to know the reasons for the delay.

The drafting of the plan received a funding of P10 million in 2017.

Tecson said tourism officials here had met with representatives from the winning contractor A.C. Ong Consulting Inc. commissioned by TIEZA to do the plan but that it had failed to meet the expectations of the local government.

She said the Manila-based consultancy firm was picked as no one from Davao joined the bidding, but she hoped to immediately resolve the issue with TIEZA so that the drafting of the long-awaited master plan can get started.

She said the local government hopes TIEZA will commission a consultancy firm that has expertise in tourism development planning.

She said she would prefer Davao-based consultants who know the city better, as the plan will contain information about the state of the local tourism industry and guide its growth for the next 20 years.

“The master plan will say what is the state of our industry, what are the strong points, as well as the weak points that we can improve on. Perhaps, from there, we can create a tourism branding for Davao City which we can all rally behind,” she added.

She said the industry pioneers lamented during the tourism stakeholders’ meeting early this month that the problems confronting them today like the lack of a master plan were similar to what they had encountered over 20 years ago.

The master plan will synergize all efforts of the tourism-related establishments, among them transport, hotels, tour guides and travel agents, she said.

“The veterans in the industry were saying way back in the 1990s, the problems I was expressing today were the same problems they had before,” Tecson said.

She said one of the strong points the tourism officials want to be highlighted in the master plan is the potential of the city for meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions (MICE).

She said they want a strong branding for Davao as a prime MICE destination, to identify the gaps and strengthen the weak points, and devise plans for the city’s China Town, Little Tokyo in Mintal, Marilog District as a potential highland destination, and 11 indigenous tribes.

“How we will put all these together? The vision and mission for Davao tourism, the sentiments of the people and how are they going to respond to tourism. We need to educate people about tourism,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)