200 int'l delegates join tour in Davao City

NEARLY 200 foreign delegates attended the 11th Ambassadors’ Tour in Davao City last Friday, July 14, which targeted to have increased tourism arrivals from the United States and for Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to have stronger corporate ties with concerned agencies abroad.

Garbed in their best Filipiniana, Barong Tagalog, and American suits, participating delegates were called “Filipino ambassadors” and are to stay in Davao City for four days. The participants will be toured around the city to experience its nature parks, agricultural farms, resorts, and other tourist destinations apart from a series of courtesy calls with government officials.

A total of 193 registered foreign participants are from the United States. Out of this number 42 delegates are from New York, 31 from Los Angeles, 34 delegates from San Francisco, 9 from Chicago, 13 from Agana, Guam while most of the participants or 60 of them are from Hawaii.

“Your attendance is your way of showing your support to our government’s firm resolve to maintain long-lasting peace especially here in Mindanao. Davao’s natural attractions and meaningful activities serve as the last salvo highlighting the 11th Ambassador’s Tour to make the Philippines closer to your hearts today and forever,” said Tourism Undersecretary Kat de Castro.

The Ambassador’s Tour started in July 11 and lasted until July 16 with the itinerary allowing the Filipino Ambassadors to experience the Philippines through their tours in Metro Manila and Davao City.

The event was spearheaded by the DFA together with the Department of Tourism’s Tourism Promotions Board.

According to the Tourism Development Planning, there was an 11.58 percent increase in the tourist arrivals in the Philippines from the United States as of last year at 869,463 in 2016 from 779,217 in 2015. United States is also among the countries with top spending markets particularly for travel and tourism.

Other top countries with tourists coming in to the Philippines include South Korea, China, Japan, Australia, Canada, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and Singapore.

“The first year of the Duterte administration may just be the most prolific times as far as tourism is concerned. This year, we recorded the biggest number of tourist arrivals. The first quarter of this year recorded some 1.7 million visitors and 80.3 percent increase compared to the previous administration’s first quarter arrivals in 2011,” de Castro added.