YOU know that the tourism sector is into something good when just the idea of its newest 'product' is making you drool. A chocolate tour.
Banking on the fact that the region produces one of the highest grade cacao in the world, it is but a given equation: that Davao should be enticing people to try its chocolates. It's a move that can entice those into the cacao industry to upgrade their technology as well as to ensure that cacao maintains its superior quality.
For the first time since a long time, Davao is pushing a product that enjoys a clear advantage over others. No one else can stake a claim to our cacao, it is up to the region and all its stakeholders to ensure that cacao brings in the tourists as well, because then, the benefits trickle down up to the smallest souvenir seller.
For so long, wine and vineyard tours have been drawing tourist by the thousands in Napa Valley in California, Tuscany in Italy. Why not this other global product that crosses all palates and is sought after by all?
The region has long recognized that its strength remains in agriculture. It's about time that agriculture does take the center stage, not as export products shipped out in container vans that we cannot even see, but as products that we can show from the farm where the beans are harvested, to the backyard tablea makers, to the chocolate producers.
We have that, and we know that it's a fun experience, so aside from earning big bucks from producing all those cacao beans and chocolate products, we earn even more from every person who wants to experience how their favorite chocolate bars are made.
Here's to hoping that from the chocolate tours will come more farm tours not only to bring in the tourist receipts, but moreso to entice the population to focus and build up on our greatest strength -- agriculture. There's just too much urbanization going on, we have to stress that in the end, we all eat, and agriculture when packaged well will bring in as much or even more than the destructive industries we seem to have been so enamored about for the past decades.