Sunday , May 27, 2018

DOT-Davao Region sees increase in Muslim tourists

THE Department of Tourism (DOT)-Davao Region is expecting a surge of Muslim travelers coming to Davao City following the AirAsia’s Davao – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia direct flight set on December 21.

DOT-Davao director Roberto Alabado III in an interview on Wednesday said that foreign Muslim travelers, unlike usual foreign tourists have different tourism needs and requirements.

The Davao-Kuala Lumpur inaugural flight is already fully-booked.

“We are making ourselves ready. Davao has made a lot of Halal-related initiatives. We are making our tourism sites Muslim-friendly,” Alabado said.

At present, they are in talks with Davao restaurants and hotels urging these establishments to be, if not Halal-certified, at least Muslim-friendly.

DOT 11 tourism operations chief Zuhairah Abas-Diamla, for her part said, that business owners here are also excited with the upcoming tourists and making Davao Muslim-friendly hub.

“We are very positive with the Halal industry because the city government is very supportive and Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio knows how big the market is,” she said.

Also she said that the flight will not only bring in tourists but also investors who are seeing much potential in Davao City as an investment hub.

“Actually there are already initial talks between Davao City Investment Promotions Center (DCIPC), DOT and Malaysian investors, around 2-3 investors who are interested to build in a restaurant and supply Halal products here because we are challenged with the lack of Halal facilities and products here,” she said.

Also, two Filipino companies are investing for a slaughterhouse in Toril and Calinan, Davao City.

The Davao City Halal Industry Development Council, she said, has ongoing discussions on how to improve Davao establishments to be Muslim-friendly.

“The Halal requirement for the Muslim travelers would be food and the place. For hotel rooms, for example, there should be a qibla, the direction of the Kaaba (the sacred building at Mecca), the hotels should put a sign inside the room,” Abas-Diamla said.

She also said that the city and the local Ulamas should work together to enhance local masjids (mosques) as it is also part of where the tourists go.

“In marketing the DVO-KL flight, we do not only focus on Davao but we cover other parts of Mindanao,” she said.

On January 19 to 21, 2018 DOT 11 will be participating for the Malaysian International Travel Mart, Malyasias biggest travel fair, to promote the direct flight between Davao and Kuala Lumpur.

“We will be highlighting in the fair our Davao destinations particularly those in Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and Davao Occidental,” Abas-Diamla said.