Cotabato City (December 2, 2015) – Tourism officers and industry players across the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) gathered on Tuesday, December 1, in this city to strengthen tourism linkages within the region.
The Department of Tourism in the region (DOT-ARMM) spearheaded the activity dubbed 1st ARMM Tourism Assembly. The activity gathered more than 160 tourism officers from the provinces, cities and municipalities of the region, including tourism committee chairs from local government units, and tourism industry players as well as policy makers.
“Sila ang ating mga frontline service providers, sila yung mga nasa local government units, sila ang mas higit na nakakaalam ng tourism potentials nila (They are our frontline service providers, those in local government units know the potentials of their areas better),” DOT-ARMM Secretary Maritess Manguindra underscored.
Sec. Manguindra added the assembly is aimed at presenting strategic initiatives and policies that will lead to improved performance of the region’s tourism.
The region is composed of the mainland provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Based on a report of DOT-ARMM, almost 170,000 domestic and foreign tourists arrived in the region in 2014, an increase of roughly 11% compared with 147,037 visitors in 2013.
With 53,394 tourist arrivals posted in 2014, the province of Lanao del Sur has become the top visitors’ destination in the region. Since 2010, more than 700,000 tourists arrived in the region, official figures showed.
The tourism event includes tourism product exhibit wherein local products and product collaterals from local producers, service providers and local government units within the region were showcased.
“Ang mga naka-exhibit ay ang mga popular na mga produktong hinahanap-hanap ng mga turistang napapasyal sa ating mga bayan (Those exhibited are popular products tourists who visit our towns would usually look for),” Sec. Manguindra said.
The exhibitors include the Al Jamelah ‘Inaul’ Weaving Center in the town of Datu Odin Sinsuat in Maguindanao province. The weaving center produces ‘inaul’, which is typically used as ‘malong’, a tubular skirt wrapped around the lower part of the body.
The estimated gross receipt from tourism in the region in 2014 was approximately P3 billion generated from cultural, nature, sun and beach, diving and marine sports and other relevant events.
“It’s more fun in ARMM, so tayo mismo ang dapat maunang magdevelop nito dahil tayo lang sa ARMM ang makakapagsabi nito (It’s more fun in ARMM thus, we should be the first ones to develop this since we are the ones who know this well),” Sec. Maguindra said. (Bureau of Public Information)