Davao is home to different recreational activities like island hopping and diving as well as white water rafting, hiking, and horseback riding trails. It also houses star-rated hotels and convention facilities and a growing Halal industry. At present, it has become a Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions (MICE) destination and has the distinction of having the only private sector-led MICE Program with the support of the Department of Tourism (DOT) Region XI and the City of Tourism Office. Davao City’s tourist arrivals has increased by 18% with a total figure of 543,297 for the first quarter of 2018 from last year’s 459,104.
Known as the gateway to other destinations in the Davao Region and Southern Mindanao, Davao is also one of the gateways to the Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines (BIMP) East ASEAN Growth Area.
All these considered coupled with the continuous influx of tourists, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) is set to identify immediate support infrastructures necessary for the tourism development of Davao City through the formulation of a Tourism Master Plan (TMP). The master plan will identify the specific nature and scale of development prioritizing the social, cultural, and environmental factors as well as observe principles of sustainable development. Moreover, master planning will regulate and determine the carrying capacity of the location, taking into consideration all the tourism activities, facilities, and amenities proposed.
The TMP will formulate a long-term development framework for tourism with emphasis on policy and strategy, planning, institutional strengthening, legislation and regulation, product development and diversification, and marketing and promotion, among others. TIEZA also aims to include a short-term action plan of three (3) years for priority actions to be undertaken to kick-start tourism development. TIEZA will prepare several thematic pilot areas in the city to serve as distinctive destinations to help Davao City become a unique tourism destination and bid to be a premiere Meetings, Incentives, Convention, and Exhibition (MICE) destination in the ASEAN region.
TIEZA will also craft the development guidelines and restrictions that will serve as a guide for the Local Government Unit (LGU) in the establishment of tourism enterprises within Davao City as well as provide technical support to Davao City LGU during the implementation phase.
In the long run, the implementation of the TMP will bring development for inclusive and sustainable growth in all of its dimensions. These institutional reforms will ultimately ensure inclusive growth, as well as the protection and preservation of Davao’s heritage and culture, and environment.