The Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) in Davao, together with the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) Region XI, and the private sector-led Samal Island Tourism Council launched recently the Visit Samal 2011 campaign at the Holiday Ocean View Resort.
Buenavista Island in Island Garden City of Samal
The local government, led by Mayor Aniano Antalan, has declared the months of March, April and May as Visit Samal Island months. The main objective of this is to increase visitors to the island during summer. Through a “Visit Samal Island Passport,” visitors may enjoy value-added promotions for the duration of the season from 28 resorts that are participating.
DOT Region XI Director Art Boncato, Jr. said, “the Samal Island passport will be made available to visitors arriving in our major ports. It captures our aspirations for tourists to genuinely enjoy the beauty of the island.” It will be given for free at the Davao International Airport, Davao malls, Manila and Cebu airport info counters and tour operators.
Undersecretary Maria Victoria V. Jasmin, who graced the event on behalf of the DOT, was quick to conclude that Samal Island may sooner or later enjoy the fame of being a successful ecotourism destination. “It takes more than having good places of interest and activities to offer. A destination’s sustainability must have the right support environment which includes having a strategic plan, stable public private partnerships, well-maintained infrastructure and good leadership,” she said.
Among the many natural wonders in the island, famous are the Coral Garden dive site, the Hagimit Falls, and Monfort Bat Cave, which holds the world record for the highest concentration of fruit bats at 2.5 million in one cave.