Davao expects 15% hike in visitors

Subscribe Now May 09, 2013 at 07:44am

DAVAO City, the country’s largest city, is anticipating a 15 percent increase in visitors this year, spurred by new tourist attractions, shopping destinations and convention centers that have recently opened there.

Speaking before Cebu’s tourism stakeholders yesterday, Department of Tourism (DOT) 11 chief tourism operations officer for marketing, promotions and planning Eden Josephine David said Davao City is already prepared to host a large number of guests given the rapid developments and its new positioning as a meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition (Mice) destination in Mindanao.

She said an additional 5,000-seater SMX Convention Center and the more than 7,000 hotel rooms in the city support Davao’s aggressive campaign in attracting domestic and foreign tourists as well as in hosting big local and international events.

Mice Desk

Davao registered 1.6 million visitors last year, a 10 percent improvement from 2011 at 956,864 arrivals. The domestic market makes up the bulk of Davao’s tourism arrivals at 1.5 million in 2012.

To grab a good share of the Mice market, David said DOT 11 and the private sector established a Mice Desk to assist planners and organizers in their programs and projects. The desk will be equipped with necessary information about Mice.

“Mice is a niche tourism market and we are ready for them,” David said during the Mice roadshow called Let’s Meet in Davao, led by Park Inn Davao and SMX Convention Center, which are both properties of the SM Group, in collaboration with DOT 11.

Ann Olalo, director of sales and marketing of Radisson Blu Cebu, a sister hotel of Park Inn Davao, said that after Cebu, they will bring the Mice roadshow to Manila and Cagayan de Oro.

“The goal here is to showcase Davao as a new Mice destination,” she said.

SMX Convention Center national sales director Charry Casabar said their team will be aggressive in bidding for huge corporate and even international events for Davao.

According to DOT 11, Davao City recently recorded a surge in the number of conventions and trade exhibitions in the city, hosting an average of three convention events per month.

Davao hosted the Mice event last March, which had 1,200 delegates. The city is also gearing up for the upcoming Ad Congress this November.

“Davao has already established complementary facilities for the Mice market,” Olalo said.

While Davao is positioned as a Mice location, its provinces are positioned as eco-tourism destinations, David said.

Aside from the beautiful beaches, Davao also has an array of outdoor activities like diving, wakeboarding, river rafting, zip-lining and off-road riding. The region is known for Mt. Apo, the country’s highest peak, and the Philippine Eagle.

Top markets

Davao’s top four markets include US, Singapore, Korea and Japan.

David also stressed Davao is one of the safest cities in the country as it is the only city in Philippines and Asia that has its own version of the 911 emergency response system, on top of the closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems widely deployed in the
streets.

“The positive feedback of companies hosting their events in Davao and the surge in inquiries signify the market’s improved perception about Davao being a safe place,” said Daphne Alosado, SMX Davao senior manager.

“Expansions of big players like Ayala and SM also mean that investor confidence is already there,” added Olalo.

Earlier, DOT 11 regional director Art Boncato Jr. announced they were forging partnership with Cebu stakeholders to promote Davao and Cebu as complementary destinations. Next month members of Cebu Association of Tour Operators will visit Davao for a familiarization tour.

Source: sunstar.com.ph



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