Tourism department pleased with decrease in U.S. travel advisory for Mindanao

BUKIDNON, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) welcomed the United States’ decision to lower its travel alert for four destinations in Mindanao, viewing it as a positive step that will attract more foreign tourists to the region.

In an interview with reporters during the Philippine Experience Program (PEP) in Cagayan de Oro, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said that this makes Mindanao “ready” to “welcome the world”.

“We are very grateful to the government of the United States for having downgraded the travel advisory in Mindanao,” Frasco said.

“We feel that this will also encourage our tourists from all over the world to come and visit and to see for themselves that Mindanao is safe, Mindanao is a wonderful place for any kind of travel,” she added.

Last week, the U.S. Department of State said that it had lowered the travel alert from level 3 to level 2 in four areas of Mindanao namely Davao City, Davao del Norte Province, Siargao Island and the Dinagat Islands.

When an area is under alert level 3, U.S. citizens are urged to “reconsider travel” in that area. Alert level 2, on the other hand, urges U.S. citizens to “exercise caution” to the destination they are going to.

The U.S. state department said that this development reflects the rescinding of Mindanao’s “state of national emergency”.

The tourism chief also said that the DOT, Department of National Defense and the Department of the Interior and Local Government have signed a memorandum of agreement to “ensure the development of tourism” of Mindanao is “strategic”.

This resulted in a “vibrancy” in communities and the good experiences of the tourists.

“Mindanao, especially Northern Mindanao, is very safe and truly ready for tourists. Most importantly, the people here are very kind.” Frasco said in a mix of Filipino and English.

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