Davao tourist arrivals almost half of 2019 target

A young girl from the Ata tribe plays the “Saluroy” while an elder plays the “Kuglong” inside the Kadayawan Village at the Magsaysay Park in Davao City on Friday (10 August 2018). The Ata Tribe is one of the 11 tribes in Davao City highlighted in the celebration of the Kadayawan Festival. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/25 July) – Tourist arrivals in Davao for the first half of 2019 reached 1.268 million, nearly half of the local government’s target of 3 million for the entire year, City Tourism Office head Generose Tecson said.

Data from the tourism office showed that arrivals for the first semester saw an increase of 8.61 percent from 1.167 percent recorded in the same period last year.

Tecson said his office remains optimistic that it can hit the target, anticipating a surge in tourist arrivals in the second half, especially during month-long Kadayawan Festival next month.

The Kadayawan Festival, the biggest local celebration, highlights the cultures of the city’s six Moro tribes (Tausug, Maguindanaon, Iranun, Kagan, Maranao, and Sama) and five Lumad tribes (Klata, Ata, Ubo Manuvo, Matigsalug and Tagabawa).

Tecson said some big hotels in the city have already been fully booked for Kadayawan.

“We are very happy with our tourist arrivals because it’s going up… That makes us very hopeful that we can reach the 3 million target,” she said.

Benjamin Banzon, general manager of The Royal Mandaya Hotel, said the Kadayawan Festival is a major drawer of tourists, benefiting both big and small hotels here.

He said the hotel had been fully occupied for the festival, with visitors making reservations since the the second week of July.

He said the average stay of their clients is two nights and three days, but it would increase to three nights and four days during Kadayawan.

“Kadayawan is the highlight among the activities for the whole year,” he said, anticipating a busy month ahead.

Banzon said the hospitality industry of Davao has been enjoying a good occupancy rate, encouraging more hotel chains to come.

“That’s a very good indication that the hospitality businesses are doing good. We are expecting more big players to come,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)