DEV’T OUTLOOK. Maria Lourdes Lim, director of the National Economic and Development Authority in the Davao Region, bares Wednesday (Dec. 28, 2022) the 2023 development outlook for the region’s recovery status from the pandemic. Business and tourism opportunities are expected to contribute to the region’s recovery from the pandemic. (Screengrab photo)

DAVAO CITY – Investment and tourism opportunities are expected to increase in the Davao Region next year as global, national and local economies fast-track their post-pandemic recovery efforts, the regional National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-11) office here said.

In a press briefing Wednesday afternoon, NEDA-11 Regional Director Maria Lourdes Lim said three major developments are expected to boost ventures in the region with a focus on business, tourism and public-private partnerships.

“The MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) are expected to fully recover and thrive with the current administration recognizing the sector’s role in post-pandemic economic regeneration, job creation and poverty reduction,” she said.

The Regional Development Council-11 has recently declared the Davao area as a tourism and investment-ready destination.

Lim noted that the Department of Tourism 11 has started developing various tourism circuits – nature, culture, sun and beach, meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE), eco-adventure, dive and marine sport, and farm – as economic boosters.

“On the international connectivity, the Davao International Airport shall reopen and add direct flights, particularly international flights, as other countries ease up travel restrictions,” she said.

For infrastructure development and projects, Lim said the completion of the Davao City Coastal Road Project is targeted by March next year.

The highly anticipated completion of the Davao City Bypass Construction Project and Davao City Expressway Project will also link the city’s main areas with the centralized movement of passengers and cargo such as in the seaport and airport, relieving traffic pressure in the downtown area.

“It will greatly enhance the traffic capacity, mobility, and level of service and drive the rapid economic and social development of Davao City, and Mindanao as a whole,” she said.

Lim said some of the major projects in the pipeline in the Davao Region include the Samal Island – Davao City Connector Project, the Davao International Airport Modernization Plan, the Mindanao Railway Project and the High Priority Bus System Project.

“This is primarily aimed at improving mass public transport, addressing the worsening traffic congestion in Davao City and providing an efficient and affordable mode of transport for Dabawenyos,” she said.

However, Lim said the continuous high inflation remains a challenge for the region wherein the vulnerable sectors will be negatively affected. (PNA)