A big turnaround in Davao’s tourism industry adversely affected by the declaration of Martial Law in May was experienced during the Kadayawan sa Dabaw Festival. This was reported by Renato “Gatchi” Gatchalian, president of the Davao Tourism Association, during a speech before members of the Rotary Club of East Davao at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao yesterday noon.
Gatchalian who served as festival director of Kadawayan said a consolidated report of stakeholders of the local accommodation industry indicated that about 30 million people came to Davao City to join the revelry, reputed to be the biggest Kadawayan festival ever.
“All of us who went out and saw the teeming millions of local and foreign guests know this is fact,” said the DATA president, who is credited with building Blugre as a coffee shop brand considered local counterpart of Starbucks, and lately Saging Repablik offering a unique banana cuisine.
Gatchi admitted that a month (June) after the Martial Law proclamation, visitor arrivals in Davao declined by more than 30 percent, while cancellation of reservations for hotel accommodation became very common.
However, this all changed in August, the Kadawayan month, he said.
He said the Davao Region’s tourism stakeholders in a move to continue the momentum will converge at the Pinnacle Hotel on September 22 to craft the region’s tourism six-point agenda. This will be during the Davao Turismo Conference.
He said all stakeholders of the tourism industry are invited to discuss the proposed agenda in marketing, product development, service, financing, government relations and industry support.
Gatchi said that the central idea is to take advantage of the national and international attraction generated by the Rodrigo Duterte presidency.
He said one of the bestseller tourism destinations is the so-called Dutertours, involving the sites where the young Rodrigo Duterte grew up and his humble home.
He said that another object of product development is the Tribal Village, the blockbuster of Kadayawan, generating long lines of tourists up to these days inside the Magsaysay Park.
Still another bestseller is the Chocolate Museum in Malagos.
Gatchi thanked the city government under Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio who is all-out in supporting the tourism industry in the city.
In her State of the City Address yesterday, Mayor Sara paid tribute to the contribution of the private sector to the city’s development as a top tourism destination.
“The recent celebration of Kadayawan festival is a testament to what the private sector can offer in terms of management and execution of the festival. We would to entrust the festival to the private sector next year because as I have said during my first term and will say it again, the running of a festival is not the business of a local government unit,” she said.
The city mayor said that “ we have two takeaways from the recent celebration and the two were real blockbuster events –these are, the cultural village by Generose Tecson and the Kaondawayan.”
She said “we shall continue the opening of the cultural village or Kadawayan Village to the public, while the Kaondawayn shall have a once a pop-up event in the city.” n