When I decided to write a series of articles about Tourism in the Philippines, the whole idea was sparked when I did some research on the Web to answer a tourism question that I received from a reader of one of my blogs. I didn’t know the answer to his question, so I started looking at some websites to see if I could get the answer to the question that he had given me.
You can see what I thought about the websites by reading my first article in the series. But, in that same article, I promised to take a look at how Davao City is doing in promoting tourism over the web. So, let’s get into it and see what is happening in the realm of promoting tourism in Davao City.
There are two big events in Davao that can really attract a lot of tourists, if they are properly promoted. The first such event is the Araw ng Dabaw (Day of Davao). Araw ng Dabaw is celebrated every March 16, and is a celebration of the founding of the City of Davao. There are a lot of cultural events in conjunction with Araw ng Dabaw Festival. You can see real native people on the streets of Davao during this time, you can see a great deal of cultural expression from all over the region. It is truly a great event to witness, and I enjoy it very much. So, how is Davao doing in promoting this wonderful event? Unfortunately, not so well. The Official Website of Araw ng Dabaw is hopelessly out of date. Here it is, 2008, and the website is promoting the Araw ng Dabaw 2005! There are lots of photos of Araw 2005, and there is a schedule of events for Araw 2006. Not much help for somebody who is planning a trip in 2008!
The other huge event in Davao every year is the Kadayawan Festival. Kadayawan is a celebration of the harvest of fruits and vegetables in the Davao Region. This festival is held in August, although not on a fixed date. In my opinion, Kadayawan is an even bigger celebration than Araw is. The City practically shuts down for several days during the Kadayawan Festival, and it is a great celebration! Well, I went over to the Official Kadayawan Website, and again, it is severely lacking! Here it is, January 2008, and the Kadayawan Website is still promoting last year’s festival. And, it’s not a retrospective look back at the event, they are still publishing the calendar of events for the 2007 event! Now is the time to be giving out information about when the 2008 event will be. For people who want to come from overseas and participate in the Kadayawan Festival, now is the time that they need the information! They have to book their flights. Hotels are usually full up during Kadayawan, so if they post the schedule now, people can make early reservations, in time to still get a room!
Did you know that Davao has an Official Davao City Tourism Website? Honestly, the Official City Tourism site is terrible. I hate to say that, because I love Davao City, it is my home. But, I have to be honest, their website is terrible! Why do I say that? Well, the home page has very little tourist information (actually, it has NO tourist information). Along the left side of the site, there is a list of links for various tourist information. When you click on these links, they don’t go anywhere! They simply point back at the same home page where you were to begin with! This is an Official Website that is owned and operated by the City! One link, at the bottom of that left side link section does go to it’s own page, and that is the “Tourism Directory.” That Tourism Directory page was last updated in 2005. Three years ago. Sorry, but this is not the way to bring tourists to the City.
So, looking at the state of Web Advertising of Tourism in Davao City shows that it is in a sad state at this time. I hope it can improve! I really do hope for that, because I am proud of Davao City. Davao is different in many ways from a lot of other parts of the Philippines, and the Web is a perfect place to promote those important differences. Using the Web to do such promotion is almost free! Why is it not being used?
I will say one thing in defense of Davao. I don’t think that Davao is worse than other Cities in the Philippines in terms of Web promotion, nor is it worse than the Country in total. Sadly, though, that is not much of a defense. I am terrible, but everybody else is too…. somehow, for me that doesn’t cut it.