First Mindanao Tourism Expo

ROSES AND THORNS - Pia Roces Morato - The Philippine Star

Last Jan. 27 to 29 at the SMX Convention Center in SM Lanang Premier, Davao City, the very first Mindanao Tourism Expo was successfully launched as it signaled the readiness of the region to further reopen its doors for international and local travels as stated by Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco.

This, as expressed by the good secretary, is a first of its kind as it brings in a new era of tourism development in Mindanao. This inaugural event was proclaimed as the largest three-day tourism gathering that brought in a total of 69 booths with 41 exhibitors from public and private sectors and other tourism allied services held this year in Mindanao.

One of the most important keynote messages of the tourism chief has been to highlight the importance of the reopening of Mindanao for tourism and to expand the reach of the traditional mandate of the department, which is to look into the necessary pillars of true tourism development and instead also take a long hard and honest glance at what needs to be changed and improved on in order to recover our losses from the pandemic and come back stronger than ever.

As a marching order, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. explained the motivation behind our tourism goals which are not only to continue to develop and promote our country’s top destinations but also to ensure that the benefits of tourism are widespread and felt throughout the entire nation.

This year’s regional tourism expo zeroed in on the “Colors of Mindanao” which, as Secretary Frasco said, clearly highlighted the beauty of the region alongside its diverse culture and traditions ready for the rest of the world to experience, as Mindanao is a hidden gem with untouched natural wonders.

It has been said that Mindanao is called the land of promise due to its rich biodiversity and natural resources. Being the second largest group of islands next to Luzon, Mindanao is known worldwide to be the surf capital of the Philippines and some of the world’s largest pineapples, bananas and pomelos are grown in the region.

The first Mindanao Tourism Expo gathered both diplomats and other officials and was made in partnership with Cebu Pacific and the Davao Visitor Destination Hub. Davao City’s Tourism Operations Office OIC Jennifer Romero also said that the reopening of Mindanao’s tourism will have a positive impact on Davao City as it is the gateway and center of the region.

The first Mindanao Tourism Expo, as Romero explained, is a testimony of the readiness of Mindanao, a testimony that Davao City is also ready. Tourism is truly bouncing back and it is indeed ready, get set, go for Mindanao in 2023. A total of 1,048,245 arrivals in the first semester of 2022 was recorded in the Davao Region, which was 73.62 percent higher than that of 2021.

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