By Anthony S. Allada
TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte, March 28 (PNA) — The number of tourist arrivals in the province rose to 11.7 percent in 2013, according to the latest data released by the Provincial Tourism Office (PTO).
The province registered 604,644 foreign and domestic visitors last year, compared to 541,086 influx of tourists in 2012.
The PTO also bared the visitors contributed over P5 billion to the local economy.
Governor Rodolfo del Rosario attributed the significant increase to the flourishing festivals and budding sports tourism activities in the province.
The banner festivals in the province include the weeklong Kadagayaan Festival held in celebration of the founding anniversary of the province; the Musikahan Festival of Tagum City; the Visit Samal Island Festival of the Island Garden City of Samal; and, the month-long Kahayag Festival of the Municipality of Carmen, among others.
The province was long known as the Agriculture, Culture and Ecology (ACE) tourism destination in the Davao region.
However, it lately gained prominence as the sports tourism capital of the region with the completion of its world-class Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex in 2012.
The spanking facility has become an icon in sports in Region XI, making Davao del Norte the favorite sports tourism destination.
The province hosted last year the Davao Regional Athletic Association (DAVRAA) Meet, Batang Pinoy Mindanao-leg and the Philippine Football Federation-SMART Regional Qualifiers, which gathered over 10,000 athletes, coaches, parents, and other sports enthusiasts at the sports complex.
Del Rosario sees unprecedented growth for the tourism industry in the province now that Capitol has passed the Provincial Tourism Code.
Provincial tourism officer Noel Daquioag is confident the tourism sector in the province will sustain its growth this year, courtesy of the exciting festivals, as well as, the hosting of the DAVRAA meet last February, the regional Private Schools Athletic Association (PRISAA) Meet earlier this month, including the hosting of the National PRISAA Games next month.
“We are also expecting the growth of repeat visits from our satisfied patrons,” he said. (PNA)