Why not Davao
“It is high time to debunk the perception that Davao is not a safe place to visit and to hold conventions and seminars. In fact, without much fanfare and unknown to many, Davao City has been hosting conventions and other gatherings almost every other week.”
THE Asean Tourism Forum (ATF) will be hosted by the Philippines from 13-21 January 2006 in Davao City. ATF is the biggest annual tourism event in the Asean Region. Its participants are top industry policy makers, tourism government authorities, private sector organizations, practitioners and suppliers of Asean-based tourism products and services.
Its major component is the travel exchange (Travex) between Asean sellers and international buyers from major travel markets. It is a cooperative regional effort to promote the Asean as a single tourist destination. The event is expected to draw more than 3,000 local and international participants and guests from the travel trade sector.
The indefatigable DOT undersecretary Oscar Palabyab is a regular visitor in Davao to lay the ground works for the ATF. In one of his talks to Davao businessmen, he mentioned in passing that some people questioned the choice of Davao ATF venue. “Why Davao?” Atty. Palabyab countered by saying, “Why not Davao?” He further stated: “We deem this is an excellent opportunity to showcase the fascinating and distinct culture of Davao as well as to project an image of a peaceful, progressive and hospitable tourism destination.”
It is high time to debunk the perception that Davao is not a safe place to visit and hold conventions and seminars. In fact, without much fanfare and unknown to many, Davao City has been hosting conventions and other gatherings almost every other week.
Davao City has also been rewarded recently as one of the most livable and safest city in the country and in Asia.
The travel advisories against visits to the Philippines, especially Davao in Mindanao, are unfair.
In a way, the US is the more dangerous place to go to because of their foreign policy of intervention and their hard-boiled stance against terrorism. Threats have been openly expressed by those who hate the guts of the Americans. And yet, Filipinos still form long lines to get their at the US embassy.
Spain has its share of bombings by the local separatists but millions of visitors flock to sunny Spain every year. Bali used to be the safest haven for tourists but recently it has been spared from the terrible suicide attacks. But Bali and visitors will still go to that exotic place.
South America is also a favorite destination for some countries. Once a tourist asked a resident of one of the countries there: “What is your number one national pastime?” The answer was “Bullfighting.” The tourist commented: “That’s revolting.” The native said: “That is our second national pastime.”
There is no stopping of the coming and going of the brave tourists. A few years ago Pearl Farm Resort was attacked by pirates. Although two of the guards of the resort died, the pirates were repulsed and had to withdraw. At that time more than 50 Koreans were billeted at the resort. After the shooting, the Koreans calmly stayed. Asked why they did not move out, one of them answered with a shrug: “We’re used to it. There is always shooting in Korea.”
Today, Davao is peaceful and very tourist-friendly and ready. ATF is our big chance to get a bigger share of the tourist trade. Intense preparations are now being done by all the Davao provinces and cities, with Davao City as the hub of most of the ATF activities. Some major conferences will be held at the famous Pearl Farm Resort in Igacos. Davao del Norte is even writing a coffee table book on the different attractions of the province for the occasion.
The organizers are right when they choose Davao. Davao is going to be a unique and beautiful showcase–from the islands to the highlands.