The number of tourist arrivals in the city in June this year went down to 123,343, or a decrease of 19 percent compared to 152,678 tourists registered during the same period last year.
But City Tourism Office head Generose Tecson said the city recorded a total of 930,136 visitors for the first half this year, surpassing by 3.6 percent the number of visitors recorded during the same period last year with 896,983 visitors.
She said she remains confident that the arrivals will pick up starting this month.
“We are still hoping our arrivals will increase after Kadayawan and that this will go on until December. So, that’s why we are asking the help of Dabawenyos… Ask your friends to come here kahit walang kadayawan (even if there is no Kadayawan) just to be here in Davao, and experience what we have here,” she said.
The increase in tourist arrivals in the first half was attributed to the launch of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in January at the SMX Convention Center Davao, she said.
Tecson said accommodation facilities have so far recorded an 85-percent occupancy rate within the duration of the month-long Kadayawan Festival despite the martial law declaration.
The city’s big and small hotels, pension houses and inns have a combined total of 10,000 rooms, she said.
“If you want a brand new experience, come to Davao and experience what martial law is Mindanao style,” she said.
Department of Tourism 11 director Roberto Alabado said the Kadayawan Festival is part of the regional effort to showcase the culture of the city’s 11 recognized tribes – Bagobo-Kalata, Bagobo-tagabawa, Matigsalug, Ata Manobo, Ovu Manobo of the Lumad, Sama, Kagan, Maguindanao, Iranun, Maranao, and Tausug.
Alabado said the Kadayawan highlights lumad culture that has survived despite colonization.
“When Filipinos would like to know culture, what is Filipino culture, we would like to tell them – come to Davao, come to Kadayawan,” he said.
He said that if “there is one bad news, then we have to provide 10 good news so that we can balance things out.”
Festival activities include the Kadayawan Village and Bantawan – Cultural Show on August 14 to 20; Hiyas sa Kadayawan Talent Competition on August 15 and coronation on August 18; Habi Kadayawan on August 15; Kaondayawan (Food and Music) on August 17 to 20; Subang Sinugdanan and Panagtagbo (River Float Parade); Dula Kadayawan (tribal games) and Mugna Kadayawan (Doodle Competition) on August 18; Indak-Indak sa Kadayawan, SayawKadayawan and Tunog Kadayawan on August 19; Pamulak sa Kadayawan and Pitik Kadayawan on August 20. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)