DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 22 February)—Tourism industry stakeholders in Davao Region have seen growing interest among local travelers for a “revenge travel” in 2023 after years of strict lockdown measures due to the pandemic that halted their plans to visit tourism destinations here and abroad.
Pia Lourdes P. Montano, founding chairperson of the Davao Mega Travel Sale, said during “Wednesdays at Habi at Kape” that air travels to popular tourism destinations have been picking up since last year and travel operators are expecting this trend to continue this year.
She said the exhibitors of the 13th Davao Mega Travel Sale in Abreeza Mall from February 24 to 26 would offer discounted airfares and booking services for accommodation services in Davao Region and Manila, and other tourism products.
Montano said that the fair generated revenues of around P15 million before the pandemic in 2019 but added that organizers are hoping to reach P12 million for this year’s travel fair.
There are seven hotels and resorts, 13 travel agencies, and two airlines that will participate in the travel exhibition, she said.
She said they are hoping to get more bookings for both inbound and outbound travels this year.
Michelle V. Yian, president of Davao Travel Agencies Association, said that there are travel agency operators from Manila that will participate in the exhibition.
She added that top destinations for local travelers include Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore in Asia and some areas in Europe, including France and Switzerland.
Last month, Jennifer Romero, tourism head of the local government of Davao, said that the City Tourism Office targets to attract around 1.8 million visitors for this year.
She said the local government recorded 897,406 arrivals for the entire 2022, significantly lower compared with the 2.5 million reported in 2019, the banner year for the city’s tourism industry.
She said the city targets to receive 2.5 million visitors in 2024 and 2.7 million in 2025.
But Romeo added that the city would most likely reach the same level as 2019 with the staging of big events, including the MICECON 2023 (Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions, and Exhibitions Conference) and Ironman 70.3 in time for the celebration of Araw ng Dabaw in March, and other major conventions this year.
She said tourism stakeholders are banking on the strength of the city, being a destination for MICE events, to increase the number of tourists.
The city hosted the 19th National Convention of Lawyers at the SMX Convention Center Davao from February 16 to 18, which attracted a total of 3,700 delegates from different parts of the country. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)