DAVAO Region and tourism destination are synonymous.

As a region with tourist destinations of such abundance, capitalizing on tourism as one of our economic drivers is but a direction the local government units here and the tourism department must take.

Last February 16 at the Marco Polo Hotel–Davao, the Davao Fun Sale Execom Inc. with its partners, officially launched this year’s summer tourism campaign: Visit Davao Summer Festival (VDSF).

The vision is to make Davao Region as the top tourist destination in summer.

Over 30 tourism-related activities from April to June are set ranging

from sports and adventure, cultural and arts and party and leisure around most of Davao Region including Davao City, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, Mati City and the province of Davao Oriental.

“When we first launch this we focused in Davao but the succeeding years, we went beyond, but this year we widened our coverage, we now include the Compostela Valley, and we stretched it to 10-week season-long celebration,” Benjamin Lizada, chair of Davao Fun Sale Execom and President of Restaurant Owners Association of Davao City said.

This project, which has been running for half a decade in the region, is nothing short of laudable. But what benefits have we gained so far since year one?

Organizers have been claiming that tourist arrivals have been projecting an upward trend even with the slight setback caused by the martial law declaration last year.

Last January, the Davao City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) bared that the city breached the two-million tourist arrival record in 2017.

But this is just Davao City alone.

However, no matter people would think that the region is growing in terms of tourism, the fact still remains: we lag far behind our foreign neighbors when in fact we have more potentials than them. We just need to work it out, the right way inclusively.

Yes, tourism stakeholders in the region have made major actions to put Davao in the tourism map worldwide but a long road still needs to be paved. There is still much work needed to be done to finally say that we have already tapped the tourism potentials of the region in a sustainable way.

Also, the region, with its luscious beach resources can be an international destination like Mati’s Dahican, can learn so much from the mistake of Boracay.