By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – The number of tourists who visited Davao City reached 1,037,792 from January to May this year, or an increase of 6.14 percent from 977,714 tourists reported in the same period of 2018, data released by the City Tourism Office showed.
Of the total arrivals, the data showed 78,254 were foreign visitors and 20,444 visiting overseas Filipinos.
The CTO data showed Americans remained as the top foreign visitors of the city with 8,963 for the first five months of the year.
Chinese tourists came second highest with 6,867, followed by Japanese (5,262), Koreans (3,365), Australians (2,889), Indians (2,772), Singaporeans (1,924), Canadians (1,738), British (1,420), and Arabs (2,428).
CTO head Generose Tecson encouraged the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) to include Davao City, the hometown of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, in their international promotion campaign to help the local government sustain the international flights.
Qatar Airways launched a once weekly Davao-Doha-Davao flight last June 18, the fourth international route of Davao after Davao-Singapore-Davao of SilkAir and Cebu Pacific, Davao-Hong Kong-Davao of Cathat Dragon, and Davao-Quanzhou-Davao of XiamenAir.
“How come they don’t promote us? They should include us? Ang nangyayari ngayon inaasa sa Davao City (what is happening is that it leaves everything to Davao City). We cannot do it alone because this is not only for the city but also for the whole region,” she said.
According to the agency’s website www.tbp.gov.ph, the TPB, an attached agency of the Department of Tourism, markets and promotes “the Philippines domestically and internationally as a world-class tourism and meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) destination, in strategic partnership with private and public stakeholders to deliver a unique high-value experience for visitors, significantly contributing to increased arrivals, receipts, and investments to the country.”
Tecson said the TPB should promote Davao as a destination to help make the international flights more sustainable by luring in more foreign visitors, which comprise a measly share of the city’s total tourist arrivals.
She said the agency’s help would complement the international investment and tourism roadshows of the local government to position Davao as a premier investment and tourism hub of the country.