DOT says Mindanao still safe tourist destination
MANILA, Philippines—Despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration that Mindanao remains a “dangerous place,” the Department of Tourism (DOT) on Wednesday said parts of the region are not “troubled” and in fact “full of attractions and destinations.”
Speaking at the weekly economic forum in Malacañang, Tourism Assistant Secretary Roberto Alabado III said the department remains steadfast in promoting different tourist attractions in Mindanao even as some of its areas continue to be gripped with terrorism and armed conflict.
Alabado particularly mentioned Zamboanga which boasts its Intramuros-like forts and the pink beaches of Santa Cruz island.
“If you go to Zamboanga, I don’t think that it’s a troubled area. I go there for bird watching. If we have the Intramuros here, you should see the old forts that they have in Zamboanga. It’s a city where you would see the interplay of Muslim culture, the American heritage (and) the Spanish heritage,” Alabado told reporters
“I would encourage our Filipino tourists to visit Zamboanga and you would be pleasantly surprised at how nice the pink beaches of Santa Cruz Island,” he added.
The DOT official noted that they are banking on the region’s rich and diverse culture to lure more foreign and local tourists.
Late last month, Duterte admitted that Mindanao remains “a dangerous place” to go around as he acknowledged that there was still “lawless violence” in the region, which has been placed under martial law since the deadly terror siege in Marawi City in 2017.
“Mindanao really seems to be a dangerous place still to go around. That is why it could not be…in terms of truth to say that everything is all right there and you can go around and will not be waylaid along the way. Delikado ang Mindanao,” Duterte said.
More international routes
Alabado also pointed out that there’s a “renewed interest” in establishing direct international routes to airports in Mindanao.
“We have Doha and we have Hong Kong coming in so we see that there’s renewed interest in establishing direct routes to our international gateway in Mindanao and the Department of Tourism, the Routes Development Team is campaigning, talking to a lot of carriers from Korea, China to consider the Davao International Airport as one of the destinations,” he said.
Doha to Davao City airline connection commenced last month. The direct flight was announced in March last year by Qatar Airways Group as part of its expansion in Southeast Asia. (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)
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