Saturday, June 15, 2024

Tourism Chief: Mindanao Ready To Welcome More Tourists


Tourism Chief: Mindanao Ready To Welcome More Tourists


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More than a year since she announced plans to help open Mindanao for leisure travel, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said she believes the region is now ready to welcome more tourists from across the globe.

The Philippines has been promoting tourism-ready areas in Mindanao in a strategic approach, in close coordination with relevant security offices throughout the process, Frasco said.

“Mindanao is ready for tourism, Mindanao is ready to welcome the world to its beautiful lands, its wonderful shores, and to share the bounty that is so abundant here,” she said in an interview on Thursday.

Frasco is in Bukidnon to promote the various destinations and experiences Northern Mindanao has to offer under the newly launched NorthMin Philippine Experience Program (PEP): Culture, Heritage & Arts Caravan.

During the three-day event, the DOT will showcase the rich heritage of Cagayan de Oro as a melting pot of cultures in the region, down to good food and modern-day thrills at the Dahilayan Adventure Park in Manolo Fortich.

“Ako mismo, I feel it. I’ve been here several times at napaka-safe ng Mindanao and Northern Mindanao is really ready na talaga para sa ating mga turista. Most importantly, napakabait ng mga tao dito (I personally feel it. I’ve been here several times and Mindanao and Northern Mindanao are safe and really ready to accept tourists. People here are kind),” Frasco said.

“Iniimbitahan ko po ang ating mga kababayan, bisita na po tayo sa Northern Mindanao (I invite our compatriots to visit Northern Mindanao).”

Malaysian Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Mohd Fareed Zakaria, who participated in the new PEP, said his first visit to Mindanao “exceeded his expectations.”

“I think people have to come here to know that Mindanao is totally safe. Maybe there are some areas or pockets of areas that you may have to exercise some caution but generally, I think Mindanao has such welcoming tourist attractions,” he said in an interview. “So, I think you should dispel the beliefs that Mindanao is not a safe place.”

The diplomat, who tried the famed Razorback Mountain Coaster at Dahilayan, said he enjoyed the ride and thought Malaysians and other foreigners would like it, too.

“And I’m surprised that there are so many people even though it’s Thursday. So, it shows that the attractions here are really pulling in the crowds,” he said.

“I think more Filipinos, or more foreigners, or more tourists should come here.”

Honorary Consul of Austria Peter Faistauer, meanwhile, said he had always enjoyed visiting Northern Mindanao for its good climate, food, and people.

“Of course, we are trying to also promote Mindanao but frankly speaking, if you ask somebody in Europe about Mindanao, they have no clue,” he said.

“Filipinos know much more about Austria, even though Austria is much smaller. But Mindanao is not yet really a very common name which is known in Europe.”

He said infrastructure must also be in place to allow more flights to come in from Europe.

At present, a PHP12.75 billion project to upgrade the operations and maintenance of the Laguindingan Airport in Northern Mindanao is also in the “challenge bidding process,” according to Frasco. (PNA)