Davao City charms Japanese visitors

Prevalent peace and order, unperturbed nature and ecological wonders, world-class accommodations, and the genuine hospitality of the people boost up the prospects for tourist influx into Davao City and surrounding areas.Feature News A group of major travel operators and media representatives from Japan literally made the discovery of Davao City's best-kept secrets during a four-day visit in the home turf President Rodrigo Duterte. Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo said the familiarization tour (fam-tour) organized by the Department of Tourism (DOT) Mindanao Office and the Philippine Airlines (PAL) included trips to the lush Garden of Eden, Philippine Eagle Center, Malagos Garden, and Davao Marina Tuna. The fam-tour also included visits to the humble Duterte residence in Matina, Davao City, Museo de Dabaw, and the city's Rescue 911 command center. The fam-tour culminated in an overnight stay at honeymooners' paradise in Pearl Farm and Malipano islands, where cultural dances were performed, and local cuisine and exotic fruits were served. DOT Tokyo Attache Gwen S. Batoon, who headed the 12 member fam-tour group from Tokyo and Osaka, including major travel and tour operators, media editors and travel bloggers, credits the recent State visit of President Duterte for Japanese strong interest to travel to the Philippines. This is quite an eye opener for these first-time visitors amidst a misconception that Davao City is part of a conflict area (Eastern Mindanao), even as West Mindanao authorities here have beefed up security measures, DOT Assistant Secretary Eden David stressed. The DOT official also disclosed that the fam-tour coincided with the lowering of Japan's lowering of Travel Advisory to Level 1 for Davao City, which bodes well for local area tourism. Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) raised the Travel Advisory to Level 2 in the wake of the tragic bomb explosion last September 2. Batoon relayed the MOFA announcement to David's office, and confirmed by Japanese Consul to Davao City Tomoko Dodo during the group's familiarization trip to Davao City. President Duterte, along with Secretary Teo, clearly won MOFA's approval and favorable action during their working State visit, Batoon said. We are very pleased indeed to hear about the great news from DOT's Tokyo office, that is why our Japanese friends are coming to Davao, said David. Under the minimal precautionary Travel Advisory Level 1, Japanese tour and travel operators are now again allowed to offer tour packages to Davao City, David explained. Ultimately, the proud people of Davao City is its real charm. They are so hospitable and, despite what had happened, I feel safe here more than any place, said Dodo who has served as Tokyo's envoy to Davao City for more than one year. Just like President Duterte, who was treated like a rock star during his visit in Tokyo, personifies the pride and charismatic charm of DavaoeAos, Dodo went on to say.

Source: Philippine Information Agency