City Tourism Operations Officer Generose Tecson(Robby Joy Salveron/

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Tourist arrivals in Davao City is starting to pick up after its drop when ​M​artial ​L​aw was declared in May this year​, ci​​​ty officials said.​ Data from the City Tourism Operations Office showed tourist arrivals picked up from a low of 151,170 in July and 185,660 in August.

​The August data was higher from the last high number recorded in May, with ​ 181,629 ​visitors in what was then a steady increase in arrivals since January.

But on the last week of May President Rodrigo Duterte declared Martial Law across Mindanao in what Malacanang said was a move to contain the outbreak of terror attack within the confines of the central Mindanao city of Marawi.

On the following month after that declaration, visitors arrival dipped only 126,046.

​The President’s daughter, this city Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, admitted that Martial Law affected the city’s target number of tourists.

“We were well on our way until Martial Law happened, but we bounced back in August, mainly because of the Kadayawan Festival — thanks to our strong, hardworking, and dedicated private sector,” she said.

During the first Davao Turismo Conference held Friday, City Tourism Operations Office head Generose Tecson said they remain hopeful to surpass the 1.8 million mark last year.

“We need to get at least 200,000 each month for the remaining four months to get the targeted 2 million arrivals,” Tecson told Davao Today in an interview.

She ​said it will be enough for the city to just surpass the figures last year. There were 1,864,343 visitors recorded in 2016.

Speaking before tourism stakeholders from the private sector in the region, Duterte-Carpio said the strong support of the private sector contributed to tourism promotion and increase in arrivals.

“We need you, the private sector, to work as one and decide what direction should Davao tourism take,” she said.

Marketing plan

The Davao Turismo Conference aims to craft a unified marketing strategy among the stakeholders in tourism.

“We have to have a singular campaign that everybody will use so we can market it properly,” said Gatchi Gatchalian, president of the Davao Tourism Association (DATA).

He said the marketing plan will enable them to have a clear vision on how to market Davao in other parts of the country or abroad.

Tecson said this is the first time the city will have a unified marketing plan.

She said the plan from the private sector will be part of the city government’s consideration when it crafts policies, building infrastructures and make tourism promotion. (

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