Mati City building up as region’s tourism hub

Mati City is building up as tourism hub in the Davao Region by pushing for the development of its airport as tourism driver.

In an interview, Mayor Michelle Nakpil Rabat said the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) assured during a meeting that the agency will help the city in pushing for the airport.

“That was included in our discussion with NEDA. They will help us push for this. The airport has been there since 1981. Mati is a tourism hub at the same time agro-industrial. That is the way forward and most sustainable. And Mati being part of the Metro Davao Development Authority (MDDA) we just recently concluded with the consultation with the NEDA and we agreed that Mati is a tourism hub,” she said.

She is not certain of the timeline but she knows it’s the airport will be developed soon.

“I’m pretty sure soon. I can speak for most Matinians that we want the airport to be operational and to bring in tourists,” Rabat said.

Recently, Mati City hosted the first Bay Deep Mati Freediving Festival which gathered local and foreign divers.

Freediving is a relatively new watersport activity in Davao Region and like scuba diving, it entails thorough training and certification for one to safely do this sport underwater.

Rabat said she is keen on exploring events and activities like freediving apart from scuba diving.

“I do expect more activities like this. You have to put it in a tourism calendar we intend to put this as a yearly thing or for the enthusiasts out there who want to come to Mati. And we want to put Mati City on the map, I think this (freediving) is one way of putting Mati on the map, to foreigners. Let’s admit it madami rin gusto nato na scuba diving but freediving, madami dami din yan and I’d like to explore,” she said.

Rabat also said that the city is also preparing for the upcoming developments.

“I don’t want to be like Boracay, so before that happens we want everything to be in place that is why the consultation with NEDA, and whatever else we need and the package that we presented to those who are willing to help fund whatever projects we need,” she said.

She cited the wastewater treatment facility as the biggest undertaking that the city wants to take.

“Because our asset is the bay which is Mayo Bay with the Dahican beach that surfers love to go. We also have the Pujada Bay so we need to have mitigating measures and that is one thing I want to take,” she said.

Meanwhile, Rabat said at the onset of the pandemic more visitors came to Mati City.

“Surprisingly we had more visitors than pre-pandemic. Everybody seem to be wanting to come to Mati so we had more visitors during the pandemic. Maybe there is the vibe, ang feeling ng lahat when you come to Mati you are healthy. Cleaner air, blue waters, the vibe,” she said.

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