Comval reaps ATOP-DOT Pearl Awards anew
NABUNTURAN, Davao De Oro — Davao De Oro continued its winning streak in the national search for tourism best practices, hooking two first runner-up awards and one special citation at the annual convention and Pearl Awards of the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) in Iloilo City on October 4-7.
Davao De Oro’s 2017 summer beach sports festival notched the second place after the province of La Union’s international surfing festival dubbed as ‘Surfing Break’ in the health and wellness category. The province’s 2017 tourism month celebration also landed first runner-up. The province of Capiz hooked the championship award.
L’yurot Festival 2016 received a special citation in the search for best practices in community-based tourism activity under the cultural heritage conservation category.
“The awards confirm our commitment to promote and market these three tourism activities that have consistently receive awards since 2010,” provincial tourism officer Christine Dompor said. “We will pursue, more than ever,” Dompor said, “the enhancement of our festivals.”
The provincial tourism officer said the beach sports festival is not always about tourism but tapping activities to promote the protection, preservation, and conservation of the marine environment in the coastal towns of Pantukan, Mabini, and Maco.
The festival, particularly the almost a kilometer Kopiat channel swimming competition, has become an annual tradition and a much-awaited event along the Mabini-Pantukan coastline. Beach resorts, especially the regular hosts of competitive events, are aware that the festival plays a significant contribution in promoting and marketing them outside the province through the social media. “The festival has strengthened the bond among the major stakeholders along the Mabini-Pantukan seaboard whose interest jibes with the goal of the provincial tourism office to promote the province’s white sand beaches and rich marine ecosystem,” Dompor added.
The festival is held as the nation and the world celebrate Ocean Month. Since the launching of the festival in 2009, an average 75 percent of all lined-up events have been held within the 3,433-hectare Mabini Protected Landscape and Seascape of Davao Gulf (MPLS). The gulf is known to be a feeding ground to 11 species of sperm whales, killer whales, and bottle-nosed dolphins as well as supports five marine turtle species including the hawksbill turtle and the leatherback that lay their eggs on Kopiat island inside the MPLS.
Davao De Oro’s celebration of Tourism Month in September 2016 came amidst a background of frenzied concreting of access roads to major ecotourism destinations in the province to ensure safe and seamless travels to visitors.
It also came as investments in the tourism sector soared. As of 2016, six (6) major beach resorts, have already invested millions of pesos to either rehabilitate or build new facilities along the coastal areas of Mabini and Pantukan including the high-end Lubi Plantation Resort of Torre de Lorenzo. (jpa/paotourism/ids)