Davao’s appeal as a business events destination is getting a strong boost from this year’s scheduled opening of a convention center and two luxury hotels. SMX Davao is expected to open in August, and a 200-room Radisson Park Inn are expected to operate within the year.
“MICE is the thrust of the city government. We expect SMX Davao, with 8,000 sq.mtrs of floor area, to be able to accommodate the current demand for convention and exhibition facilities because we have outgrown our facilities,” said Department of Tourism Region XI director Art Boncato.
Currently, the city’s biggest convention venue is the Central Bank Auditorium.
More hotel projects in and outside the city are in various stages of development to add to the city’s present 5,000 rooms.
“Tune hotels, under the franchise of Red Planet Hotels, will have 147 rooms. A high-rise called Aeon Towers, with commercial spaces at the ground floor and a sky deck, is being constructed beside Abreeza Malls. Aside from those I mentioned, other smaller hotels by local investors are being built, even moving out of Davao City like in Tagum, Davao del Norte, and some at Davao del Sur,”Boncato stated.
The Philippine MICE Conference (MICECON) was the latest international conference that was held in the city. The event brought together delegates from the Philippine and foreign MICE industry comprising its planners, destination management companies, incentive tour operators, hotels and resorts, airlines, convention and exhibition centers, local tourism offices, and association executives.
Davao is the largest city in Mindanao and is known for lush forests, fruit plantations, beaches, and various tourist destinations offering an array of activities that have earned it the slogan “From Islands to Highlands”.
Visitors may choose from various activities like trekking to Mt. Apo- the country’s highest mountain peak, visiting the habitat of the Philippine Monkey Eating Eagle, doing a wildlife exploration at Crocodile Park, wakeboarding at DECA Wakeboard Park, whitewater rafting at the Davao river, and enjoying the many picturesque beaches and pristine diving sites just an hour away from the city.
Wanda Teo, past president of the Davao Tour Operators Association, remarked that, shopping-wise, Davao has almost everything Metro Manila has- a Chinatown, even areas that can give Greenhills or the 168 Mall in Divisoria a run for their money.
“We have homegrown handicrafts to bargains, even international brands are now at Abreeza malls,” Boncato added.