DAVAO CITY – It’s business as usual for Davao Region’s tourism officers a week after the incident of kidnapping in the Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte province.
City Tourism Officer Lisette Marques and Provincial Tourism Officer of Davao del Norte, Noel Daquioag on Monday announced that for the first time, the convention of the tourism officers in the Philippines will be held here on October 1-4 at the SMX Convention Center.
The event, which will be hosted by the city and Davao region, will be attended by a thousand delegates from all over the country, said Marques.
Daquioag also said the 16th National Convention of the Association of Tourism Officers in the Philippines will include benchmarking tours in different areas of the region including Samal island.
Daquioag, who previously said that the kidnapping incident involving three foreigners and a Filipina at the Holiday Oceanview Resort in Samal last September 21 will affect the tourism in Mindanao now described the incident as “an isolated case”.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday said the perpetrators of the kidnapping are “allied” with the Abu Sayyaf Group. He also said the victims are now taken to Jolo, Sulu.
Daquioag said the effect of the incident is not yet felt.
“It’s just too early, one week pa lang (it has only been a week),” he said, adding that during their talks with resort owners, “there has been no cancellation of bookings”.
“We really treat that as an isolated case. Di naman gaano maapektuhan ang tourism mismo (The tourism will not be affected that much),” he said.
Daquioag said they are even adding marketing promotions and they “do not let the incident affect” their efforts.
“We are not letting up with our promotions and marketing. All the more we are aggressive in promoting Davao del Norte as a tourism destination,” said Daquioag.
Daquioag also said the event will include benchmarking tour for the on-site learning of the delegates, which will be held in different areas of the region including Monfort Bat Cave, Hagimit Falls and Taklobo tours which are all in Samal island.
Marques said “if we think this is unsafe, we would not have continued with these plans.”
Marques said Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will join the opening of the convention on the first day.
She said the program of the convention includes topics which “are very responsive, especially to the needs of tourism stakeholders here in Mindanao.”
Marques added that the keynote speaker will discuss “world tourism theme in the Philippine context.”
She said the program will showcase the common trekking policy instituted by six local government units around Mt. Apo.
“We have a speaker who will come coming from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to talk about Islam and Halal tourism, Director Yuhaini Yussof of the Islamic Tourism Sector in Malaysia,” added Marques.
Marques said they will also be conducting the first expo “which includes LGUs who would like to highlight their destinations.”
“They know that Davao is a good venue being a MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions) destination,” she said.
She also said on the first night of the convention, the city’s program MICE Davao will sign a memorandum agreement with Air Asia to entice guests to hold their gatherings here in the city.
“Our MICE Davao program is a campaign for conventions to come here in Davao City and exhaust all incentives that they can to hold their conventions, meetings and their conferences here. And the partnership that we are about to sign with Air Asia and Cebu Pacific, later on, is an indication that we are supporting, any convention that will come here will enjoy special rates for the participants,” said Marques.(davaotoday.com)