BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Nearly half-a-million summer tourists last year visited Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos), a record-high figure for Davao’s premier tourist destination now on its way to becoming another Boracay.
Cariaga said she expects the figure to rise by 20 percent this summer, with Igacos’ Visit Samal campaign heating up.
Like Boracay, Igacos tourism banks on its sun-sand-sea lures and about hundred small-budget and high-end beach resorts. The tourist island sits in the middle of Davao Gulf facing Davao Region provinces Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte, and Davao City from where visitors take off on a 15-minute ferry ride.
At the business forum Club 888 at Marco Polo Hotel Davao, Cariaga said Igacos was expected to beat its 2013 record of 399,000 arrivals, with 177,000 staying overnight.
Igacos celebrates its nine-day summer fest Festival of festivals from April 25 to May 3, with three major events coming up at the tail-end to add up to tourists’ delight: Kabasan Festival, White Nights Festival and the Madyaw Hugyaw.
Cariaga said other activities in the summer festival are island cruises that includes the Taklobo tour at the famous Adecor pearl farm, sand sculpture competition, bike festival, wall climbing, Liga Futsal, Natural Art Contest and mountain climbing.