Mindanao Expects 20% Rise in Tourist Arrivals Year-on-Year

Tourist arrivals in Mindanao are expected to rise by 10 to 20 percent year-on-year if backed with logistic support from concerned government agencies, a tourism official said.

Department of Tourism-Mindanao (DOT-Mindanao) Assistant Secretary Eden David noted that she sees this possible with the creation of a Mindanao Tourism Agenda (MTA) to go on a full-blown scale by next year.

“The target that has been set is to at least increase it by 10 to 20 percent but it be dependent upon logistic support when it comes to infrastructure,” David said in a press conference in Davao City.

DOT earlier said that the MTA is expected to complement the department’s National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP).

“The Mindanao plan will have to be started by 2017. There would be a MOA (memorandum of agreement) that would be undertaken next week and hopefully by end of the year we have initial draft to submit to Malacanang,” David said.

Data from DOT Mindanao showed that the island acquired around 8.5 million tourist arrivals in 2015 with the bulk of these arrivals coming from the Davao Region (Region 11) with around 2.8 million arrivals.

Meanwhile, the Zamboanga Peninsula (Region 9) acquired around 800,000 arrivals, Northern Mindanao (Region 10) acquired around 2.7 million arrivals, Soccsksargen (Region 12) acquired around 1 million arrivals and Caraga (Region 13) acquired around 1.2 million arrivals.

DOT Secretary Wanda Teo vowed to boost Mindanao tourism under her term especially since she herself and President Rodrigo Duterte hails from the same region.

“My focus is always Davao and Mindanao because I feel like Davao has been left behind,” Teo said. “Palawan, Boracay, Cebu are already known. Now, it’s Davao’s turn.”

Bus tours

Alongside the agenda, DOT-Mindanao will also be offering missionary tours through Davao Metro Shuttle Company’s Go Mindanao Tourist Bus by March next year.

The company will invest in 400 luxury bus units, which will be strategically located all over Mindanao, to transport tourists to around 300 tourist destinations within the island.

The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), an attached agency of the DOT, will meanwhile set up information centers to a house souvenir shop, a mini restaurant, shower, restroom, locker and even a prayer room.

David said that routes for the first phase will cover Davao-Bukidnon-Cagayan de Oro and Davao to Butuan. She also assured the safety of tourists.

The next set of buses — around 60 of them — will arrive next year.

DOT-Mindanao is also working on increasing road connectivity within the Davao Region by 80 percent next year through the construction of a Samal Circumferential Road and a bridge connecting Davao City to the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) or simply, Samal Island.

David said that the budget will be coming from the Tourism Road Infra Program (TRIPC), a joint project of the DOT and the Department of Public Works and Highways

Davao City to boost Japanese female tourism market

The city government of Davao is tapping a new niche market in Japan called "joshi tabi" or Japanese women travelers to boost its tourism numbers, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said on Thursday.

DOT made this announcement fresh from the success of a familiarization tour (fam-tour) held in Davao City last Nov 10 to 13 which was participated in by at least 12 major Japanese travel executives and bloggers.

The fam-tour group, which included three Tokyo-based women executives, particularly enjoyed the visits in Davao City’s Malagos Garden where they mingled with exotic birds.

They also pampered themselves with gourmet and massage services at the honeymooners’ paradise Pearl Farm Beach Resort in nearby Samal Island.

Taking after the tour’s success, DOT said that it will be organizing more joshi tabi tour packages to cater to tourism geared towards Japanese women.

DOT Mindanao Office Assistant Secretary Eden David said that Davao City is banking on its biodiversity, pristine beaches, exotic gourmet and amenities for wellness services in offering all-female Japanese tour packages.

Tourist Attaché to Tokyo Gwen Batoon echoed David's views, noting that Davao City’s soothing nature tourism and Class-A wellness services could prove to be irresistible attractions to Japanese women.

Batoon explained that women travellers are an important travel segment, citing a 2016 Japan Tourism Marketing Company research that says 60 percent of women make travel decisions by themselves.

She said Japanese women travellers are likely to come to the Philippines for “its multi-gateway destination, providing easy access to both urban and natural attractions, and the Filipino’s uniquely warm hospitality.”

The tourist attaché further said that it seems “more reasonable” for Japanese travellers in general to fly low-cost carriers to the Philippines and stay in a luxury hotel with luxury amenities.

Japan is currently the fourth biggest source of inbound tourists in the Philippines, with already more than 360,000 arrivals for the second quarter of this year, data from the DOT showed.

Meanwhile, Japanese arrivals in the country counted more than 490,000, generating 9.25 percent of the total market share in 2015. (PNA)SCS/Azer N. Parrocha

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