DAVAO CITY: Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco on Friday underscored the importance of Mindanao to the country's tourism development, describing the island as a “hidden gem” that has yet to be fully developed.
Gracing the opening of the Jan. 27–29 first-ever Mindanao Tourism Expo (MTE) here, Frasco said they are currently collaborating with local and provincial officials to further showcase the beauty of the island region.
"We want to ensure that we allow our tourists both international and local peek into the soul of Mindanao and the soul of the Filipino people," she said in an interview.
The MTE aims to showcase the gains that the tourism industry has achieved during the pre-pandemic period, and ensure simultaneous and safe reopening along the value chain.
Likewise, the expo also seeks to engage stakeholders through various activities, and bolster domestic tourism by promoting Mindanao as a safe and fun destination.
"With events such as this, this will highlight the best of the regions of Mindanao and how ready we are to receive tourists from the Philippines and all over the world," Frasco said.
As to peace and security in Mindanao, Frasco said they are entering into a memorandum of agreement with the Department of National Defense and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to ensure that tourists enjoy their time in the area.
"Mindanao is peaceful and progressive where the people deserve nothing less than economic opportunities," she said.
Meanwhile, Tanya Rabat-Tan, the Department of Tourism in Davao Region (DOT-11) director, said the MTE would allow Mindanao destinations to be back to the fore.
"For years, the ever-passionate stakeholders of Mindanao's 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," she said.
Tan pointed out that Mindanao is home to a wide range of attractions, from stunning beaches, waterfalls, lush forests, vibrant cultures, friendly communities and rich history.
Source: Philippines News Agency