• ‘Invest more in tourism to sustain growth’

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    The next administration has been urged to invest more and make tourism one of the top priorities for the next six years to sustain the growth it has experienced in the past few years, according to a Department of Tourism (DOT) official.

    “More budget for tourism to fully realize the potential of tourism to spur economic growth for the country and most especially for Mindanao. Because if you look at the statistics of DOT, we have shown that tourism is generating employment; one out of ten Filipinos are working in the tourism sector,” DOT XI Regional Director Roberto Alabado 3rd told The Manila Times in an interview.

    Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who is from the region, is the presumptive winner of the 2016 Presidential elections.

    “I’ve heard people from Davao say we need more promotion internationally but we’ve already put our effort into promoting the region and we just need to double it,” Alabado said.

    The Davao region has been seeking to attract more direct international flights, with at least 3 international airlines companies so far vowing to promote the Davao region, the DTI official said.

    At present, he said, there is only one direct flight between Davao City and Singapore.

    “We need more direct flights to the Davao region. Airline companies have expressed interest and we are now in talks with them to have direct flights to Davao,” Alabado said.

    “The important thing happened was that they assured they will keep us on their list, in their active files, and their minds, once they have available flights. But the commitment we received is more on the marketing side. One airline said they want to promote Davao to Europe,” he said.

    “Another airline said they want people to come to the Philippines, and one of the destinations to push for would be Davao. But that’s not a direct flight yet. That company said, they can go to Cebu and talk to another company to bring them to Davao,” Alabado added.

    In the latest data from DOT Region XI, the Davao region reportedly recorded 1.98 million visitor arrivals in 2015. Of this number, 1.8 million were domestic travelers, while 121,604 were foreign visitors. Overseas Filipinos, on the other hand, were recorded at 4,870. The data also shows that P26.7 billion in estimated tourist receipts were generated from last year’s visitor arrivals, a 10.2-percent increase from 2014.

    To entice more tourists to Davao region, DOT launched Visit Davao Fun Sale 2016, a pitch to make Davao among the top-ranking summer destinations in the Philippines. Now in its second year, Visit Davao is the widest and longest running tourism sale on shopping, accommodation, dining, tours and adventure as well as spa and wellness.

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