The Philippines halal tourism and halal industry is the center of talks in the recently concluded 16th Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (Atop) National Convention in Davao City.

The 4-day event – Oct 1-4 at SMX Convention Center at SM Lanang Premier is expected to design a program that will further develop the potentials of the halal industry.

The event also brings in Islamic Tourism Center director in Malaysia, Yuhaini Yusoff, to discuss issues and concerns on the Islamic and halal tourism.

Over 1,000 delegates composed of tourism officers, tourism council members, and tourism private stakeholders from across the country convened for the gathering in a bid to discuss areas of improvement and measures on how to boost Davao’s tourist destinations.

For this year, Davao City was chosen to host the tourism stakeholders’ event.

Also, the city formally launched the meetings, incentives, conventions and events/exhibitions (Mice) Davao Program on Thursday in time of the First Atop Expo on the first day of the event. This only shows the city’s potential as Mice destination in the country.

During the launch, partnership between the city government and private sector with Air Asia was also inked.

“This is only one of the initiatives of the city to push for a sound tourism and to attract businessmen and travelers to go here,” said City Tourism Operations Office officer-in-charge Lisette Marques.

Discussions on United States Agency for International Development (USAid) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) collaboration in strengthening policy and practice on Mt. Apo Natural Park, strengthening policy and practice in protected area management and biodiversity conservation, Greening the Tourism Value Chain, among others are also to be tackled during the event.

On the third day, Benchmarking Tour Day will also be part of the event.

Tourism sites in Davao City, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley will be visited by the delegates.

The convention will also recognize provinces, cities and municipalities who excel in tourism. Awards to be given are Best Tourism Event for Festival, for Sports or Adventure, for Week Celebration, Best Tourism month or week, Best Practices in Community-based Responsible Tourism,Most Outstanding Tourism Officer, and Best Tourism-Oriented LGU.