1.4M tourists visit Davao City in 2013

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

THE Department of Tourism (DOT) in Davao Region recorded a total of 1.429 million foreign and domestic tourists who visited Davao City last year.

DOT Assistant Secretary Arturo P. Boncato Jr., who was a guest on Wednesday at Club 888 forum at Marco Polo Hotel Davao, said the number of visitors for 2013 inched up by 24.77 percent as against the 1.075 million tourists recorded in 2012.

The figure was gathered from a total of 165 DOT-licensed accommodations in the city.


"Around 97 percent of the tourist arrivals are tourists and many of them are corporate travelers," he said.

Boncato said they attributed the growth to the increased number of seats offered by the airlines travelling to and from Davao City.

Just recently, Cebu Pacific launched its Davao-Bacolod flight as an addition to the company's extensive network in Davao. Philippine Airlines PAL Express, AirAsia Zest, and Tigerair Philippines also have flights to and from Davao City to domestic destinations.

"We can also attribute the increase to the number of rooms in the city. As of today, there are some 6,000 rooms in the city," he said, adding that the occupancy in the hotels right now is more than 50 percent.

Seda Hotel, Park Inn by Radisson Davao, and Tune Hotel were just some of the recently opened hotels in the city.

They also attributed the growth to DOT's more aggressive campaign to position Davao as an eco-tourism destination and a primary destination for meetings, incentives, conventions, and events or exhibitions (Mice).

As early as the first half of 2014, he said there will be nationals conventions of medical associations that will be held here beginning April until May. Among them will include national conventions of the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society and the Philippine College of Surgeons.

He said one of the big draws of the city as a Mice destination is its close proximity to mountains and islands. The proximity allows delegates to visit different destinations before and after the event.

"The delegates are able to enjoy three elements at once: the city, beaches, and the mountains," he said.

Boncato said City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who is being invited to attend Mice, also attracts delegates to attend the conventions.

Aside from the Big Davao Fun Sale, they are also planning other events for the city in order to draw more conventions here.

"This is a source of great joy for us, knowing that more and more people are visiting our destinations. At a growth of around 25 percent, it is something to celebrate about," Boncato said.

He said the development of the tourist arrivals in the city will impact other neighboring towns and provinces.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 06, 2014.


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