Duterte’s hometown crafting ‘non-politicized’ tourism masterplan
Posted on  October 26, 2018

The 6-point ‘Davao Turismo Agenda’ covers plans for the city’s marketing, product development, tourism force, tourism budget, financing, government relations, and industry support.

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Tourism players here launched on Friday, September 22, a long-term tourism plan for Davao City, one that makes an attempt to go beyond what the city is known for: being the President’s hometown.

The six-point “Davao Turismo Agenda” covers plans for the city’s marketing, product development, tourism force, tourism budget, financing, government relations, and industry support.

“The campaign is to rally turismo stakeholders to be reminded always of what to happen – a better Davao Turismo tomorrow not politicized but synchronized, not passive but proactive, and most importantly, not divided but unified,” said Gatchi Gatchalian, president of the Davao Tourism Association (DATA).

The masterplan is deemed important among the private sector here as current national events have had a negative effect on the tourism industry of Davao, a sprawling city of some 2.5 million residents, and Mindanao’s hub for trade and industry.

Tourism arrivals dropped to 126,046 in June 2017, at a time President Duterte declared Martial Law in Mindanao, following the war that erupted in Marawi.

Previously in May, the city had 181,629 according to Generose Tecson, the city’s chief tourism officer.

“We were doing quite well in until May because of more conventions and activities, but dropped when Martial Law came,” Tecson said in her presentation, citing data from the Bureau of Immigrations.

Davao has always been geared as gateway, especially being part the Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area, but challenges including tensions between government and separatist movements have caused these initiatives to take a back seat.

While tourism leaders here hope to expand what the city is known for, Tecson admitted that the Duterte card has always been an important factor to why the city has gotten visitors.

“This worked,” she said of Davao being the President’s hometown.

However, there were other factors that Davao should be taking advantage of. These include the growing participation of Chinese Filipino associations, the indigenous tribes, and the local artists.

Thus, she went on suggesting that the city needs to do a “livening up.”

“We’re starting to talk with our artists if we can start making murals, light up facades, and keep establishments clean,” she said.

The one-day event gathered at more than one hundred people from the private sector. Among the invited speakers were Alice Quenlatin who shared Cebu’s best practices in sustaining growth in the tourism industry, and branding guru Amor Maclang, who is being tapped by the city to develop the Davao brand.

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