DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 December) – The City Tourism Office (CTO) here recorded at least 2.34 million tourist arrivals from January to November 2019, contributing at least P51 billion to the local economy, data showed.
CTO chief Generose Tecson said the record for the first 11 months of the year surpassed the 2.17 million tourist arrivals for the same period last year, or up by 7.3 percent.
Tecson told MindaNews Thursday the tourism figure could be higher since they don’t have data from self-styled accommodations, or those who rent their houses or rooms through online bookings.
She attributed the surge in tourist arrivals to the hosting of more meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE).
“For the city, we are looking forward to having our MICE program in place, which would also mean the support of our front liners and tourism related establishments in ensuring that their services are on par with international standards,” she said.
Tecson stressed that the private sector played a key role in the increase of tourist arrivals, for providing the necessary accommodation and convention facilities for the MICE program.
The cooperation of our private sector partners is crucial, such as by ensuring that they have the required legal documents to operate their businesses, she said.
She also cited the growing investments in the tourism industry such as resorts, convention facilities and international connectivity for the surge of tourist arrivals in the city.
Last October, the city government won the hosting rights for the Philippine Meetings, Incentive Travel, Convention, and Exhibitions/Events Conference (MICECon) 2020, dubbed as the biggest and most anticipated gathering of MICE professionals in the country.
The hosting, announced by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines at the culmination of the MICECONnect 2019 at The Peak, Grand Hyatt Manila on October 23, would boost the tourism push of the local government to position the city as the MICE capital of the Philippines in the BIMP-EAGA subgrouping, according to Tecson.
BIMP-EAGA stands for Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines – East ASEAN Growth Area.
According to its website, the TPB, an attached agency of the Department of Tourism, markets and promotes “the Philippines domestically and internationally as a world-class tourism and MICE destination, in strategic partnership with private and public stakeholders to deliver a unique high-value experience for visitors, significantly contributing to increased arrivals, receipts and investments to the country.”
The TPB is also the organizer of the MICECon, which serves as a platform for MICE stakeholders to “learn from global experts new trends, approaches, methods and insights as well as draw inspiration and energy from their message to reach and fulfill new heights for the Philippine MICE and Tourism Industry.”