Davao tourism as a driver of the region's economy is among the projections raised by National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
NEDA regional director Maria Lourdes D. Lim said looking at the comparative performance between 2007 and 2008, the region still enjoyed a 10 percent increase in arrivals and receipts between the two periods.
She said tourist arrivals in 2008 accounted to 648,439 visitors with total receipts of P9.1 billion as compared to the 2007 figure of 584,792 visitors and total receipts of only P8.2 billion.
She said domestic tourism will still be the main driver just like last year where 93 percent accounted for local tourist while six percent foreigners and one percent balikbayans.
Topping the list of foreign visitors were Americans, 21 percent, Japanese, 19 percent, Korean, 10 percent, Chinese, six percent, Australian, five percent, Canadians, three percent, Singaporean, three percent and from Hong Kong, three percent.
She said the Department of Tourism (DOT) in the region is expected to intensify its efforts to strengthen Davao tourism through their flagship projects regarding promotion and marketing.
These activities would include participation in major national exhibits including WOW Philippines and Davao tourism site development as well as media exposure, human resource development like conduct of trainings on tour guiding and bar tending and increase in tourism investments.
She said they are positive of the region to be attracting more balikbayans as well as other nationalities and they are working with DOT to refocus its promotional efforts to new markets like China.
Meanwhile, Lim said the other drivers which are real estate and property development are likely to continue to flourish this year given private companies' commitment to set up mid-rise condominiums.
She said Thai investors are interested in developing housing projects in the Island Garden City of Samal.