ROUGH CUTS| The need for more tourism amenities

IT’S GOOD to hear from Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio herself that more than one million tourists came to Davao City since 2016. More so because according to the lady mayor, there is strong private sector support to the tourism industry.

We believe however, that there is a lot more that the city can offer to tourists if potential attractions are developed and more facilities are built. We have observed this deficiency in tourism sites when we had the opportunity to see through television the facilities and other amenities that the Province of Bohol has put up.

For example in Marilog district, we had seen a beautiful waterfall somewhere in Salumay. There is also a beautiful cave that can be developed into a tourist attraction. There are other very enticing sceneries in the highlands of Sibulan and even in areas going to Malabog.

The challenge though, for the city is how to make tourist travel to these areas pleasant as well as safe and secured. These places are perceived to be still under the influence of the communist insurgents. Hence, without doubt, the terrain condition and the security issue are also the major bar for investors in putting tourism facilities in these potential destinations.

Probably this present situation of the city’s hidden tourism assets is the primordial reason why Mayor Sara is pushing with her plan to have a localized peace talk with the communist rebels. The mayor knows only too well that if peace reigns in the city’s upland communities it will guarantee the in-flow of investors on tourism-related businesses.

Indeed, the plan of Mayor Sara to push through with her localized peace talk with the insurgents must be given all the support it needs.

And if the acceptance of Archbishop Romulo Valles to be part of the local government panel that will negotiate with the rebels is any indication, there is enough reason to believe that the support to the mayor’s initiative is assured.

For now we still have no idea if the rebels have already reciprocated, or have created their own negotiating panel. But just the same, let the localized peace talk begin.

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Going back to putting up tourism infrastructures the plan of the Department of Tourism to open “tribal villages” in Salumay, Marilog district and in Tamayong in Baguio district is a welcome development. These could be a good projects to jumpstart programs that would further enhance the tourism industry in Davao City.

While we look at the projects as a collaboration between the local and national governments, once realized, it is one good example of an “inclusive development.” It is engaging the tribal people in its construction stage and the community in general because the project is located right in the villages of the natives.

The Department of Tourism as well as the City Tourism Operation Office are also making the projects more authentic and real since the plan is to tap the tribals to run the operation of the villages. In other words, the “tribal villages” will open opportunities for livelihood to the natives in the host communities.

But as we have postulated earlier in this subject, there are a lot more tourism amenities that need to be developed in the city. And since it cannot be denied that unlike Bohol, Cebu, and other Visayan and Luzon Provinces, Davao City cannot boast of beautiful beaches then it is imperative that it has to go to its most viable alternatives, the highlands tourism potentials.

This so because most tourists nowadays belong to the younger generations; they who love to go into adventure and challenges in places they go. And since the beaches in Davao City do not have the attributes that many young and old tourists desire it is imperative that the city has to offer tourism facilities that can satisfy their cravings for challenges other than the river rafting or aerial biking that is currently available.

And yes, talking of private sector participation, may be one strategy that the city can explore is partnership with owners of big agricultural plantations like cacao, durian, lanzones or mangosteen. The city government and the DOT may discuss with the plantation owners how they can convert their farms into tourist destinations.

If they’ve done it in Baguio City using the strawberry farms, in Batangas and Cebu through is grape plantations why can’t it be done in Davao City? All that may be needed is for the CTOO, the DOT and the farm owners to sit down and discuss the matter.

Posted in Opinion