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Davao Region tourism officials unfazed by negative foreign travel advisories

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Young tourists kayak in one of the resorts in Samal Island, one of the most accessible beach destinations in the Davao Region. — CARMENCITA A. CARILLO

TOURISM OFFICIALS in the Davao Region remain optimistic that the industry will not be seriously affected by the series of bombings and grenade attacks in other parts of Mindanao, which has again prompted travel warnings by several foreign governments. “We can focus on markets who are interested to visit,” Department of Tourism-Davao Regional Director Tanya R. Tan said during a business forum earlier this week. Ms. Tan, who was recently appointed to the post, said they will be studying which specific tourist sectors they will be strengthening their promotional campaigns to. “We already have martial law but tourists are still coming, so let’s see.” she added. Travel advisories from such countries as the United Kingdom, Canada, and The Netherlands generally warn strongly against the central and western parts of Mindanao, and to avoid “non-essential” visits to urban areas, including Davao City. In the regional center Davao City, the local government is keeping its 2.8-million arrivals target this year, banking on the hosting of several sporting events and the conventions market. “We are still confident we will hit our target if we can just sustain our MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) market,” City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) Chief Regina D. Tecson told BusinessWorld. CTOO data shows a steady increase in the number of tourist arrivals in the last three years with 1.7 million in 2016, over 2 million in 2017, and 2.4 million last year. Majority of the visitors are domestic tourists and returning overseas Filipinos. The United States topped the list of international visitors last year with 21,324, followed by Japan, China, Korea, and Australia. — Carmencita A. Carillo









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