By Maya M. Padillo, Correspondent
THE REGIONAL Tourism Council of SOCCSKSARGEN (South Cotabato-Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat-Sarangani-General Santos City) is pushing for more investments in the town of Glan, particularly accommodations at its long stretch of beaches, to attract more than just day tourists.
Council Chairperson Michelle L. Solon said they recorded 1.6 million day-tourists in Sarangani province last year, most of which could be attributed to visitors in Glan’s beaches.
“There is still a lot (of investment opportunities) in the untapped beaches, but the (property) owners need to find good partners to handle it, maybe if they are like bigger investors that have a wider perspective,” Ms. Solon said in an interview on the sidelines of the press conference for the upcoming Sarangani Bay (Sarbay) Festival 2019 on May 30-June.
During the annual beach party, first held in 2006, many of the tourists take accommodations in the neighboring areas like General Santos City (GenSan), Gumasa, and Malapatan as the beachside lodgings are limited.
“Some of them have added rooms, but not enough for the number of people that arrive. We usually experience overflowing of visitors and are staying in Malapatan and GenSan during Sarbay fest. Some people will fly in and stay in GenSan then they go and enjoy the whole festival and come back to GenSan,” she said.
Ms. Solon said the ideal venture they are promoting is a partnership between a developer and a property owner for projects with up to 400 rooms.
“Some of them (investors) are so big that they want the entire town,” she added.
The tourism official said having more accommodations would also boost Sarangani’s position as a venue for meetings, incentives conventions, and exhibitions (MICE) tourism.
At present, she said, MICE events in the region are held in GenSan and Koronadal while Glan and other parts of Sarangani just benefit from side tours for the participants.
“But I do believe a day would come that we will have more confidence from investors, then MICE can move in to Sarangani also,” she said.