Big year ahead for Data & Davao tourism

The present & past presidents of DATA

They wore red last year and this year, in the spirit of the Kadayawan, the members of the Davao Tourism Association (DATA) were garbed in Mindanawon.

DATA is the oldest tourism-oriented group in Davao with members coming from the different sectors of the industry- hospitality, food, travel, and service providers.

As in the previous years, a gathering was called to introduce the organization’s new president and officers, and induct its new members.

Incoming & outgoing DATA presidents Gatchi Gatchalian & Ex-officio Sally San Jose

Leading the helm this year is Gatchi Gatchalian and he has set the mobilization of the organization’s programs into full speed.

On top of his agenda is to increase the number of members of Data and keep them active. 

“My main thrust is really about membership—member’s benefits and relevance. I want to answer the question what’s in it for every member, why will they join Data.”

“They will join Data because we have planned several activities, projects and programs that we believe will promote camaraderie among tourism players in promoting Davao City.”

He admitted that in the past years the number of members have dwindled because of inactive membership.

Seeking the advice of the past Data presidents and conferring with the current officers, he said that the group came up with a list of activities this year that everyone is excited about.

The first Go Davao Travel Expo is one of the major events of 2017 and will be held in an SM mall in Manila.

“We will bring Davao to Manila and we will bring them to Davao with this event,” he shared.

However, airfare cost is always an issue. The Manila-Davao route is still an expensive route and seats on sale are always kept to a minimum with restricted travel dates. 

“I’m happy to share to you that we plan to work closely with a couple of airlines to making it more ‘value added’. I cannot force them to bring down the rates but we have it more attractive to visitors. We don’t want travelers to see the rate but rather what goes with the rate when they book with the airline partners.”

How will it benefit the city?

“We want to prepare the city because this will be a great opportunity for us to welcome new and more tourists. We are always on TV and we want to take advantage of the publicity. So we want to prepare all the hotels, resorts and restaurants with quality food, great service and creativity.”

With all the projects that Data prepared, the city will definitely benefit from it.

As for the guests, Data wants to make sure that the guests will be pleasantly surprised with Davao.

“Our main attraction is actually the people. The warmth and smile of the Dabawenyos, it’s unmatched. I’ve been around in so many cities and Dabawenyos have that unique warmth and we want to hinge on that.”

Well, that certainly made me smile. And if everything falls into place, Davao has plenty more reasons to keep smiling. 

The new Data president is enthusiastic and his vibe is quite electric. He is breathing new life into the organization.

Email me at For more lifestyle & travel stories, visit and

Also published in SunStart Davao newspaper.