IN A bid to further promote the cacao industry in Davao Region, the Department of Tourism (DOT) launched Tuesday, December 5, the Davao Chocolate Tour Overload.

The tour program is being done in coordination with the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao Inc. (Cidami), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Davao City Tourism Office, and the Visit Davao Consortium.

"This is being done in partnership with the private sector, we have the Visit Davao Consortium and all the accredited tour operators. This is for everyone (partner tour operators) to sell this (Davao Chocolate Tour Overload), the role of the Department of Tourism (DOT) is to brand Davao. For destination marketing, we would want people to have that recollection that once we talk about chocolate, we think of Davao," said Eden Josephine L. David, DOT assistant secretary, in an interview at the sidelines of the Kakao Konek 2017 on Tuesday at the SMX Convention Center, SM Lanang Premier.

She added that through this tours program, which is being spearheaded by DOT's Farm Tourism Sector, they are also helping the cacao farmers.

"We are not only talking about the chocolate itself but also the farm activities," David said.

In a briefer on the Davao Chocolate Tour Overload, DOT said the program will be an educational tour that highlights the transformation of the cacao fruit into a chocolate.

"The tour also touches on the social and environmental issues related to cacao and cacao farmers. One will get to try the many chocolate products from various cacao farms and chocolate manufacturers," DOT said.

Interested groups can book the tour to any DOT accredited tour operators and Visit Davao Tours Consortium. Promo rates are pegged at P3,594 for two persons; P2,344 for three; P1,927 for six; and P1,719 for eight.

DOT said that the first half of the tour will provide tourists insights on the various stages of the cacao plant's growth.

Meanwhile, the second half of the tour is a guided walking tour through a chocolate processor's facilities where one will see how the cacao bean is made into a chocolate bar.

Group tours and the drop off point after the tour is the Cacao City at the Pasalubong Center, where tourists can buy locally made chocolate products.