Davao plans Japanese history and Chinatown bike tours to revive tourism

A usual scene in Davao CityÕs major streets (photo taken May 26) as the number of bikers rises after Davao City was placed under general community quarantine. MindaNews photo

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 23 April) – The Department of Tourism (DOT)-Davao is planning to launch Japanese history and Chinatown bike tours in the city to promote local tourism amid uncertainties caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Tanya Rabat-Tan, DOT-Davao regional director said in a virtual press conference on Thursday that they are working closely with the local government of Davao to work out a plan for this new tourism offering in a bid to revive the industry.

She said the agency is currently looking for bike trails and historical structures that would be included in the tour packages.

Tan added the agency is also considering other trails outside the city for adventure seekers.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the Tourism Promotions Board is promoting “biking” as another tourism activity because “it’s the best way to see the country.”

She added bicycle tours are feasible under the new normal since cyclists are normally distanced from each other during rides.

She said activities conducted in open spaces are being preferred during the pandemic.

The use of bicycles in the city has become a trend as people look for safer alternatives to commute. The Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) started the installation of two-way bicycle lanes worth P145.3 million in the city.

Workers put finishing touches to a pocket park in Davao City’s Chinatown area on 24 January 2020 ahead of the celebration for the Lunar New Year. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

The installation of bicycle lanes is a convergence project of DPWH with the Department of Transportation. It was funded under Republic Act 11494, also known as the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act.

In 2017, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority earmarked P120 million to build a heritage site right within Barangay Mintal, known as “Little Tokyo,” where around 30,000 Japanese people lived before World War II.

Although tourism activities are permitted in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), Puyat said the decision to open them up to domestic travelers would still remain with the local officials.

Davao City remains under GCQ and the rest of Davao Region under MGCQ until April 30. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)