New DOT-XI head to build on good programs
by RG Alama
Davao City (25 September) -- New Tourism regional director Art Boncato would like to continue working on successful programs as he starts his helm in one of the country's premiere tourism destinations.
"The first step would be the inventory of what has been done, what are working and the success stories and then to build on it," Boncato said during his oath-taking held last September 16 at the Marco Polo Davao. Boncato took over the regional mantle of the Department of Tourism from former regional director Sonia Garcia.
Boncato is also trying to pursue a working plan for the private sector and the government, identifying priority areas for support and development. He will be meeting with partners with the government and the private sector and explain to partners in the local government the mandate of the DOT which facilitation work.
He would like to see that local government units in the region would make tourism as a priority industry, saying that Davao City is a prime example of a local government that has its own tourism program.
One pressing issue Boncato would like to address is improving and standardizing data collection and management of tourism-related statistics like visitor arrivals.
As for planned next steps, Boncato said that he would like to see the internationalization of Davao, rather than being just a top domestic tourism attraction. He hopes it could begin packaging itself as a major regional and international destination.
One of the ways would be bringing in more flights to Davao from international destinations and one solution to that would be declaring an open skies policy, which is a concern of the national government.
Another program Boncato would be pursuing is the luring of more MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibits) in the region. He said that Davao is an ideal MICE destination since it presents diverse attractions to any participant. Boncato said that it is the experience that the participants are after, and Davao can well provide the experiences.
He said that MICE is a high-value market since the participants who are attending it are mostly professionals.
He is also targeting that Davao will be an incentive destination. Incentive tours are those given usually by companies to well-performing employees. Among traditional incentive destinations include Hongkong and Singapore.
The new DOT regional director also hopes that Davao will soon have a large convention center which can seat about 5,000 people. With the presence of this kind of facility, Boncato said, they will have no problem attracting more MICE events in the region.
He is pinning his hopes on private investors who would be willing to sink that kind of investments here in Davao. (PIA-XI) [top]