Mindanao welcomes local, foreign tourists

The Mindanao Tourism Expo zeroed in on the ‘Colors of Mindanao,’ which clearly emphasized how beautiful the region was, with its diversity in culture and tradition prompting readiness to receive tourists not only from the Philippines but all over the world.

Tourism Secretary Maria Christina Frasco (middle) is joined by other local officials in the ribbon-cutting ceremony during the launch of the very first Mindanao Tourism Expo in Davao City on Friday. | photograph courtesy of DOT

As the health situation is getting better after the battering of Covid-19 to the industry, the Tourism Department said the Mindanao region is more than ready to accept visitors, following the successful launch of the very first Mindanao Tourism Expo in Davao City.

In a statement, Tourism Secretary Maria Christina Frasco said being the first of its kind, the regionalization of the highly anticipated tourism expo is in a new era of tourism development in Mindanao.

Last 27 January, Frasco personally graced the inaugural event touted as the largest three-day tourism gathering yet seen, with a total of 69 booths along with 41 exhibitors from both public and private sectors and other tourism allied services held this year in Mindanao.

“One of my very first remarks, when asked about plans for tourism, was reopening Mindanao for tourism. Since then, the effort has not only been to concentrate on what the Department of Tourism has been doing in the past few years but also to expand the reach of the traditional mandate of the Department to look into the necessary pillars of true tourism development to take a long hard and honest look at what needs to be changed and improved on to recover our losses from the pandemic and come back stronger than ever,” she said in a speech.

Frasco emphasized that the marching order of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. since he assumed office was not only to continue to promote and develop the country’s key destinations but also to allow the benefits of tourism to reach the countryside as far as possible.

Colors of Mindanao

As this year’s regional tourism expo zeroed in on the “Colors of Mindanao,” she said that it clearly emphasized how beautiful the region was, stressing that the diversity in culture and tradition now prompts its readiness to receive tourists not only from the Philippines but all over the world.

“So we are doing our very best to spread tourism development to the countryside, and that includes initiatives such as this that bring the potential of our cities, municipalities, and provinces of Mindanao to tourism development. Mindanao is vital and essential in terms of tourism development because it is a hidden gem that has yet to be fully discovered and developed,” she said.

Meanwhile, Director Tanya Rabat-Tan of DoT-Region 11, the host of the expo, underlined that now is the right time to experience Mindanao, primarily its untouched natural wonders.

“The time has finally come for Mindanao with this very first Tourism Expo. For years, the ever-passionate stakeholders of Mindanao tourism industry have been doing their best efforts not just to bring out the best in their respective regions but also persuade visitors to go and visit them,” she said.

Fifteen other tourism regional directors were also in attendance for them to fully grasp the region’s offerings that will be incorporated into the Department’s “The Philippine Experience” program which took inspiration from Cebu’s iconic “Suroy Suroy Festival,” according to Frasco.

The event also gathered diplomats, including Malaysia Consul General Deddy Faisal Bin Ahmad, China Consul General Li Lin, Indonesia Consul General Achmad Djatmiko, Myanmar Consul General Anna Te, Hungary Consul General Mary Ann Montemayor, Austria Honorary Consul Dr. Peter Faisteur, Denmark Honorary Consul Rowena Vida-Lisbon, China Deputy Consul General Liu Qian, and China Consul of Commerce Ji Jun.

Other officials present at the event were Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon; Davao Council Al Ryan Alejandre who represented Mayor Sebastian Duterte; Samal Mayor Al David Uy; and Davao City Councilors Bernie Al-ag and Myra Ortiz; and Davao Occidental Board Member Brett Bautista, DOT undersecretaries Shahlimar Hofer Tamano, Ferdinand Jumapao, Myra Paz Abubakar, assistant secretary Verna Buensuceso, Directors Ronald Conopio and Roberto Alabado III.

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