Category Archives: Philippine News Agency


DAVAO CITY, Nov. 11 (PNA) – Key players of the tourism industry both from the private and government sector of Southern Mindanao have adopted “One Davao”, a private and public sector partnership aimed at promoting tourism programs and destination packages of the cities and provinces in the Davao Region.

Department of Tourism (DOT) regional director for Davao Region Art Boncato disclosed that in their just concluded Tourism Marketing Conference and Planning Workshop held November 9 to 10 at the Apo View Hotel, the tourism officers of the local government units came up with a doable list of tourism activities which the private sector assessed and validated.

He said the tourism officers through a list of their respective tourism products shortlisted it to the top three products, be it on holiday and leisure, eco-adventure and MICE (meetings incentives conventions exhibitions).

“It is no longer the high officer telling them (local government units) what to priorities. And these officers know their place well and what best to offer the market,” he said.

Christine Dompor of the Davao Tourism Officers Association said with the workshop they would be able to come up with an updated inventory of products matched with their market even as she hoped that the Davao Region will come up with a tourism circuit which is a tour program of connectivity and complementation of tourism products in the region.

She said they will package tourism products into one program linking Davao City to the other cities of the region and the provinces and municipalities.

However, she said before they could promote their offerings to other markets, they had focused their promotion domestically by tapping particularly the schools and the academe in their locality for them to see and experience their own tourism products.

Mary Ann Montemayor, chair of the private sector tourism council said they now have a good team from both sectors helping together in what they call the “good news” in the tourism industry.

She also said through the conference and with inputs shared by both sectors they would be able to unclutter the industry people’s minds and promote critical thinking to focus on the products, markets and action for growth.

She said they were able to come up with clustering and specializations of products per category so proper positioning could be done like product development concerns must be addressed and also meet the market’s needs.

“The conference and workshop gave the private sector an opportunity to have a hand in the planning and validation of the tour programs.

She said they see it as a Private-Public Sector Partnership (PPP) that could speedily spur the growth in the industry. (PNA)
LAP/Digna D. Banzon/lvp


Ekran Berhad investing US$ 20 M to reopen P1.5-B Samal Casino Resort this year
By Digna D. Banzon

DAVAO CITY, Aug. 15 (PNA) — Ekran Berhad Sdn, a Malaysian conglomerate that owns a chain of big hotels, is set to re-open this year the Samal Casino Resort in the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte.

Secretary Jesus Dureza, Presidential Adviser on Mindanao and the Philippine Signing Minister for the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), said the revival of the casino resort was confirmed by its Malaysian owner, headed by Tan Sri Datuk Ting Pek Khiing, executive chairman of Ekran Berhad Sdn. during a recently held bilateral meeting between the Philippines and Malaysia in Brunei Darussalam.

Dureza said the P1.5 billion tourism complex in Samal’s Kaputian District would soon be back in full business.

He said the meeting was a side event of the BIMP-EAGA Roundtable Discussion on the Community-based Ecotourism (CBET) development, which was part of the week-long 18th BIMP-EAGA Senior Officials and 14th Signing Ministers meeting and other related events held in Brunei Darussalam on August 5-8.

Meanwhile, Ekran Berhad officials also said they were working on the revival of the Davao-Kota Kinabalu air link, in partnership with the Malaysian Airlines, which used to ply the route in 1990s before it folded up operations due to low passenger load.

“As a result of the meeting, we’re putting back on track the Samal Casino Resort. This is an indication of a sound business environment in Mindanao and across borders as there is now an opportunity to reconnect in the south,” Dureza said.

Dureza, along with Samal Mayor Aniano Antalan, Tourism Undersecretary Oscar Palabyab and Davao Del Norte Congressman Anton Lagdameo, met with Ekran Berhad officials in Brunei to discuss and agree on the most feasible arrangement that will facilitate the re-opening of the resort.

“This will surely boost tourism and employment opportunities and expected to generate P50 million in various taxes,” said Lagdameo, also chairperson of the House Committee on BIMP-EAGA Affairs. In its bid to reopen the resort, Ekran Berhad Sdn. is set to infuse an estimated US$ 15 to US$ 20 million new capital investment. “The plan to resume the operations of Ekran was based on sound business decision. Sa tingin nila maganda na ang business environment sa Mindanao,” said Trade Undersecretary Merly Cruz, the Philippine Senior Official for BIMP-EAGA.

The Samal Casino Resort, which sits on a 250-hectare area in Samal is about 30 minutes by boat from Sta. Ana wharf, Davao City, Mindanao’s premier economic hub.

The resort started operating as a hotel and casino in late 1997 with 300 rooms and a ballroom that could accommodate 3,000 people. It is one of the large scale investments ushered by an agreement forged between Philippines and Malaysia in the early 1990’s under the BIMP-EAGA initiative. (PNA) RMA/Digna D. Banzon/lvp