DAVAO CITY—Southeastern Mindanao’s Davao Region sees tourist arrivals expanding at a faster pace beyond 2013 with the entry of major international carriers and a more aggressive pitch to promote itself as an eco-adventure capital of the Philippines.
“We would like to be more aggressive in targeting, taking into consideration charter flight, and new direct flights from other destinations. So a 13-15 percent growth in tourist arrivals in 2014 onwards is something we can work on,” said Art Boncato, Department of Tourism director for Region XI.
Region XI, which consists of the provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental, recorded 567,000 tourist arrivals in the first semester, up by 10 percent year-on-year.
“That’s the kind of arrival we expect until end of the year, but we’ll be more aggressive in the next two years,” Boncato said in a briefing for Manila-based reporters.
Boncato, a former hotelier at an international hotel management chain, said growth of tourist arrivals in the last five years was hitting 13 percent. Beyond 2013, he said the region could thus target a higher growth rate.
Increasing connectivity is seen as a key ingredient towards Davao’s aspirations.
Most major airlines are now flying to Davao City, making available about 200 flights weekly, Boncato estimated. There are daily direct flights to and from Singapore. But if the region wants to capture a bigger chunk of the international business, he said there should be more direct flights from other key international cities like Incheon, South Korea.