The Department of Tourism (DOT) has stated that it is ready to make Mindanao a global tourist spot in 2017, despite threats in the peace and development aspects in the area.

“We will bring Mindanao to global tourism this year,” Tourism Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre said.

Alegre explained that government agencies will complement the private sector, which is mainly the driving force of tourism.

“The present administration is committed to ending the peace and order problem. We will build necessary infrastructure to support tourism and – this is important – for every negative publicity, we will have at least 12 positive promotions,” Alegre told Rappler.

He pointed out that safe places outnumber those affected by peace and order problems in Mindanao.

He said this is why a first batch of Miss Universe candidates was brought to Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte two weeks ago. It was for them to see that Mindanao is not as dangerous as portrayed in some publications.

He also said the Philippines can become an alternative tourist destination because a lot of global tourists have already seen the rest of Asia.

Alegre said the tourism department will work with the Department of Justice and the Bureau Immigration to fast-track the conversion of Dipolog Airport into an international airport.