As the tourism industry has began its reset following the improvement of the health situation in the country after almost 3 years into the pandemic, the Department of Tourism Xl took the lead in helping uplift the Mindanao’s image through the recently concluded Mindanao Tourism Expo held last January 27 to 29 at the SMX Convention Center of SM Lanang Premier.
“One of my very first remarks – when asked about plans for tourism – was reopening Mindanao. Since then, the effort has not only been to concentrate on what the Department of Tourism has been doing in the past few years but also to expand the reach of our traditional mandate to look into the necessary pillars of true tourism development, to take a long hard and honest look at what needs to be changed and improved on, to recover our losses from the pandemic and come back stronger than ever,” DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco said in her speech during the expo’s opening ceremony.
The tourism secretary underscored the Marcos administration’s directive to continue to promote and develop the country’s tourist destinations and allow the benefits of tourism to cascade to the countryside.
With the theme “Sustaining the Colors of Mindanao,” Frasco emphasized the beauty and diversity of the region, in terms of natural wonders, cultures and peoples along with world class facilities and attractions, and its readiness to welcome tourists both domestic and international.
Meanwhile, DOT Xl regional director Tanya Rabat Tan underlined the timeliness to reopen tourism in Mindanao, especially that most, if not all, destinations have received record number of visitors after the easing of pandemic restrictions.
“The time has finally come for Mindanao to be back to the fore. For years, our ever passionate stakeholders of the tourism industry have painstakingly worked hard not just to bring out the best in their respective regions but also to persuade visitors to go and visit them,” Tan said.
She added that the first Mindanao Tourism Expo will “endeavor to give these Mindanao gems the appreciation and recognition they truly deserve”.
During the three-day event, the expo was able to gather 41 exhibitors including all the DOT regional offices in the country. Meanwhile, the business-to-business meetings held on the expo’s second day at Grand Regal Hotel was able to reach a little over P8 million estimated value from leads generated.
“It is so our hope that through the Mindanao Tourism Expo, we will be able to recoup the gains that the tourism industry has achieved prepandemic, to ensure simultaneous and safe reopening along the value chain, engage our stakeholders through our various activities, and continue to bolster domestic tourism by promoting Mindanao as a fun and safe destination,” added Tan.
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