THE Davao City Tourism and Operations Office (CTOO) expects some 250,000 tourists, domestic and foreign, joining the annual Kadayawan sa Dabaw festival this year.
CTOO head Generose Tecson said the city aims to beat its recorded 208,645 tourist arrivals last year.
She said last year's records were "very impressive" despite the implementation of martial law in Mindanao and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) runway incident that affected flights, both domestic and international.
Tourist arrivals during Kadayawan have continuously increased since 2016 with 171,851 and 185,660 in 2017.
Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio recently said she would request her father, President Rodrigo Duterte to exempt Davao City from the martial law implementation.
Duterte-Carpio said exempting the city from martial law would be possible since it can be declared to specific areas.
Tecson said the mayor's request would be helpful to attract more tourists in the city.
"That would be very good because there are some countries na nag-hehesitate magpadala ng tourists here because of the martial law (That would be very good because there are some countries that are hesitant to bring their tourist here because of Martial Law)," she said Monday, June 24, after the flag raising ceremony at the City Hall of Davao.
"Kagaya ng European and American (countries), need nila ng travel insurance pag nagtatravel. You cannot get one if you are travelling to a country that is under martial law (Like in European and American countries, they will not be given travel insurance when they are travelling to a country under Martial law)," she added.
The tourism officer, meanwhile, said they are preparing for the formal launch of the festival, now on its 34th year, on July 8. Meanwhile, the official kickoff celebration will be on August 8.
Tecson also said this year's Kadayawan will be a month-long celebration, wherein activities will be spread out in the entire city.
"The difference this year is that we spread out some activities para ang mga tourist will have all the time to be here and 'di sila siksikan in one week lang (The difference this year is that we spread out some activities so that tourists will have the time to explore the city. Because one week is not enough)," she said.
This year's theme will still carry the 11 different tribes and four symbolic icons of the city but she said this year will have a different design on its layout and promotional campaign.