Winning moments for Davao & Samal tourism

Even before Katherine Espin of Ecuador was crowned the new Miss Earth 2016, she already won the hearts of the Davaoeños. I never got the chance to meet her or any of the candidates, but to have been singled out from 85 gorgeous women from across the globe by the locals she came across with, there must have been more to that beautiful face.


Miss Earth 2016 Katherine Espin

Katherine Espin of Ecuador was a Davao favorite before she was crowned the new Miss Earth 2016


Advocacy plus beauty is a winning tandem. It can get the message across and Miss Earth is a good channel to remind everyone to do their share in saving the environment.

But you know who’s sharing the crown? The Davao region, when the Miss Earth Delegates visited key tourist spots of Davao and Samal.

Reigning Ms. Earth 2015 Angelia Ong of the Philippines with Ms. Air 2015 Dayanna Grageda of Australia led the ladies representing 85 countries on their recent visit to Samal’s Pearl Farm Beach Resort for the Miss Earth resorts wear competition.


Pearl Farm hosts resrots wear competition of Miss Earth 2016

The Miss Earth 2016 candidates in Pearl Farm Beach Resort, Samal Island, where the resrot wear competition was held


Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, who was in town to attend the Regional Tourism Assembly as well, welcomed the candidates upon their arrival.

Kicking off the beauties’ seven-day Davao-Samal visit was a welcome party at the Waterfront Insular Hotel.


Davao private ompanies are partners in tourism programs

Miss Earth 2016 visit in Davao kicked off with a Pink Party at Waterfront Insular Hotel. The private sector is actively taking part in supporting the region’s tourism programs


For the rest of the week, the “women of the earth” walked their talk with a tree planting activity in Samal, and visited the key tourist spots in Davao like the Philippine Eagle Center and learned of the National Bird’s plight, experienced adventure activities like skycyling at Eden Nature Park and sampled Davao’s world class delicacies of cheese and chocolates at the Malagos Garden Resort.

“We need more international activities like this to help boost Davao’s tourism,” said Davao Mice Execom Chair Kennedy Kapulong of the Miss Earth visit.


DOT working with private secotor for local tourism

The private sector working hand in hand with the Department of Tourism in taking Davao & Samal tourism to new heights


Soon, Davao will also be hosting senior officials and ministerial meetings of the Asean in 2017, and the Miss Universe ancillary event will also be staged in Davao in January 2017.

More promotions are being undertaken by the Department of Tourism, which includes partnerships with airlines in bringing social media influencers.

Foreign bloggers will be flown in Davao and Samal to promote destinations like agri-tourism and island beach holiday activities. The groups will be part of the Travel Blog Exchange hosted by the Philippine Promotions Board of the DOT to be attended by over 300 bloggers worldwide.

TBEX is the largest conference and networking event for travel bloggers, online travel journalists, new media content creators, travel brands and industry professionals.

Furthermore, the DOT is partnering with the private sector in bringing more tourist investments to the region especially on areas of connectivity, both on land and air.

A Mindanao Tourist Bus has been launched recently during the Regional Tourism Assembly. It will take missionary routes to tourist destinations in Mindanao in the next three years.


Mindanao tourist destinaitons via bus

Signed. Mindanao Tourist Bus will take missionary routes to tourist desintations in Mindanao


International direct flights to Davao are also being pursued. “We are working with Philippine Airlines for direct Davao-Japan and Davao-Cebu-US triangular route,” DOT Secretary Teo shared.

“Our office is partnering with Asia Foundation on building the business cases for the airlines to fly the Mindanao and Palawan route under the BIMP Eaga, and will highlight Davao-Manado, Zamboanga-Sandakan and Kota Kinabalo-Cebu and Puerto Princesa connections,” DOT Mindanao OIC Eden David bared.

An air connectivity consultation was recently concluded following through the air connectivity forum held last July among airlines and government agencies with private sector stakeholders.

Recently, Xiamen Air flew direct to Davao from Xiamen with two flights piloted last September 28 and October 5. They are pursuing a scheduled chartered flight in December and tour operators from Xiamen are scheduled to conduct a familiarization tour in Davao and Samal to help boost the said flight.

With the recent events and plans like these, guess who’s taking home the crown?

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Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.