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Davao City chosen for ASEAN-Korea tourism program

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By Philippine News Agency

The Korean government has chosen Davao City as beneficiary of a tourism capacity building workshop focusing on “Branding Davao as a Competitive MICE Destination.”

Under the tourism program, Ambassador Kim Young-sun, Secretary General ASEAN-Korea Center, said they have chosen the Philippines as one of the countries they will be assisting and Davao City was strongly recommended.

The Korean official together with other tourism experts facilitated the workshop Monday at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao.

Only a row of trees and houses divides the cemeteries for the rich and the poor in Davao City. (Keith Bacongco/Manila Bulletin)

Only a row of trees and houses divides the cemeteries for the rich and the poor in Davao City. (Keith Bacongco/Manila Bulletin)

He said their support will anchor on how to promote MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions), which is a booming industry in the city.

According to him, Davao has great potential and “I am impressed of the beauty of the city.” But with the many potentials of Davao, he said it may not only be MICE but also on eco-tourism

He said the city is full of attractions like the Mt. Apo, green surroundings, the Durian fruit and other delicious food including coffee, cacao and chocolate.

Mr. Kim said branding is very important for Davao since it is the home city of President Rodrigo Duterte. The city, he said should find something to represent Duterte. “It has to be a strong brand,” he said.

He said it is not all about culture for the tourists but it is what they want to see, what to buy and what to do.

Alex Paik, managing director of AP Communication and one of the speakers during the workshop, said that Davao City must be marketed internationally.

He said it has to present its uniqueness although the city is known to the Koreans as a safe community.

Security and safety is important to tourists, he said, citing Central 911 or the Davao City Central Communication and Emergency Response Center, a highly computerized and fully integrated center. It is one kind of platform that Davao City could be promoted as a safe destination, he added.

Mr. Kim said Davao City must focus on its infrastructure,hospitality, and its competitiveness in order to succeed as a MICE destination.

Prof. Seul K. Lee, Ph.D. of Sejong University said Davao City has two niches: one is safety and security; two — educational aspect since many Koreans and Japanese come here to study language preferably English.

He also emphasized on the role of the institution in tourism management.

Department of Tourism (DOT) 11 Regional Director Roberto Alabado III said the participants to the workshop were officers and other officials from government, private institutions, academe, airline industry and from other tourism establishments, hotels and restaurants.

He said this could just be their first partnership with the Korean government but, in the future they would jointly build a stronger tourism industry in the ASEAN.

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