Editorial: Booming sports tourism

DAVAO City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio officially bared that the Alveo Ironman 70.3 will be staged in Davao City on March 25, 2018.

THE Ironman 70.3 is touted as the most prestigious triathlon spectacle in the country and the first time that a city from Mindanao is hosting it.

The event will not only be a convergence of some of the top triathletes in the country and foreign participants but it will also serve as a venue to showcase what Mindanao and Davao have to offer.

The hosting also cements Davao City as a primary sports tourism destination.

"It is also an opportunity for us to show that Davao City and Mindanao is ready to host a high-caliber sporting events," Duterte-Carpio said.

Just this year, Davao City has hosted a national Dragon Boat Festival at the Sta. Ana Pier and will also host the Davao Region Athletic Association Meet 2018 en-route to bidding to host the 2019 Palarong Pambansa.

But for several years now, the city has been a regular venue of the country's premier footrace National Milo Marathon Davao region leg and the Shell National Youth Active Chess Championships Southern Mindanao leg as well as the Selecta and Merco-backed National Men's and Women's Tennis Championships and Private Schools Athletic Association (Prisaa) regional meets, national open wakeboard competitions, among other huge sporting events, despite the absence of standard facilities.

But with the completed Olympic-sized rubberized track oval of the University of Mindanao and the ongoing construction of the Davao City-University of the Philippines (UP) Sports Complex, which boasts of state-of-the-art facilities that meet international requirements, the best is yet to come for the city.

UM is eyeing to host the National Prisaa Championships in 2018 or 2019 and if talk with the Philippine Sports Commission materializes, the needed grandstand for UM's track oval may yet be completed before the National Prisaa hosting.

Sports tourism also provides the city another selling point for its tourism promotion efforts. The city will not only become as a destination where one can enjoy a fusion of urban and nature but also a destination where Filipinos and foreigners can enjoy some of their favorite sports.