SECURITY forces and local government units (LGUs) in Mindanao will serve as partners in the national government’s push for the inclusion of the southern part of the Philippines in the promotion of tourism as a key economic contributor, the Department of Tourism (DoT) chief said.
Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco said the DoT will be signing an agreement with the Department of National Defense and the Department of Interior and Local Government to ensure safety in Mindanao’s tourism destinations.
“The pillar of tourism in Mindanao would be peace and security,” Ms. Frasco told the media on Friday during the opening of the first Mindanao Tourism Expo in Davao City.
“That is why we are entering into a tripartite memorandum of agreement with the Department of National Defense and DILG and partnering with our governors, mayors, and congressmen to ensure that our tourists enjoy their time here in Mindanao in peaceful and progressive regions,” she said, acknowledging the longstanding misconception among both local and foreign travelers that the entire Mindanao is a restive region.
Ms. Frasco said Mindanao is “vital and essential” in the government’s overall tourism development plan “because it is a hidden gem” that can draw in more visitors and tourism receipts.
The three-day event showcases sites, tour packages, and various products of Mindanao. There were also business-to-business meetings among tourism and allied industries.
Tourism Davao Regional Director Tanya Rabat-Tan, host of the event, said the expo showcases the varied tourism destinations and activities in Mindanao, which were also primed for visitors during the coronavirus pandemic period when there was a lull in the industry.
“With everything all set and in place, we are now ready to present Davao and the rest of Mindanao as a destination primed to bounce back and welcome again our tourists,” Ms. Tan said. — Maya M. Padillo