A DAVAO City official said that the Philippine Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions, Exhibitions Conference (Micecon), along with other events in the city in March, can surpass tourist arrival targets for this year.

Jennifer Romero, Davao City Tourism Operations Office (DCTOO) head, said during the Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Davao Annex on January 30 that based on their own forecast, around 1.8 million tourists are expected to arrive in the city this year.

But with the “very good turnout” of last year’s tourist arrivals and with several events the city is set to host this year, Romero said “most likely” tourist arrivals will reach around 2.5 million.

She said for comparison there were 897,406 tourists who arrived in the city from January to December 2022.

Romero said that they are expecting tourist arrivals in the city to continue to grow, especially since it will host Micecon, the Ironman 70.3 Run Davao Leg, and Araw ng Dabaw in March 2023.

“Our banner year for our tourist arrival was from 2019 na niabot ta og 2.5 million, so we are already 25 percent if we compare the tourist arrivals from 2019,” Romero said.

Romero said she is confident to reach this “ambitious yet reachable” target, with the easing of restrictions and the re-opening of face-to-face events.

“The strength of Davao City is through Mice events, naa’y local meetings, daghan ta’g naka-schedule na conventions (we will have local meetings, we will have many scheduled conventions) even in the first quarter and second quarter [of this year], and hopefully padayon ni siya (this will continue) for the entire year,” Romero said.

As for the Micecon event opening preparations that will be simultaneous to the Araw ng Dabaw opening on March 1, Romero said that the accommodation sector has been preparing for it, partnering with 17 hotels to house the expected 600 to 700 participants.

They expect that bookings will continue until the Micecon opening on March 1 to 3.

“For the official hotels, we have six hotels and we have 50 rooms per hotel allocated for Micecon, so that’s 300 rooms... most of the bookings for Micecon, they will just go inside the website and they will book their own rooms,” Romero said.

“We also have 11 partner hotels that they can choose from for all participants, so all in all 17 hotels,” she added. ICE