GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – All road leads to this city next month as General Santos plays host to 4 big events that are guaranteed to attract tourists and visitors.
Kicking off the busy month is the 23rd Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon) slated for September 1-3, followed by the 16th National Tuna Congress on September 4-5.
On the historical side, September 5 will mark the 46th anniversary of the cityhood of General Santos.
The Annual Tuna Festival likewise opens on September 5. The unique annual offering of General Santos will end on September 13.
The night before, September 12, will be the coronation night of Mutya ng Mindanao, an annual beauty pageant in the island which the city will host for the first time.
In interviews with Rappler, organizers of the Mindanao business conference told Rappler they are expecting 1,200 delegates and participants. As of August 18, some 800 delegates have confirmed their attendance.
Conference director Rey Billena and the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry said they also invited delegates from neighboring ASEAN countries, including trading partners China, India, South Korea, United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
President Benigno Aquno III has been slated as guest speaker but organizers said Malacañang is yet to confirm his attendance.
Topping the agenda in the gathering of Mindanao business leaders is the ASEAN integration in 2015 and perennial power supply problem across the island.
The annual Tuna Congress, on the other hand, is already attracting an average of 600 local and international delegates and foreign fisheries and tuna experts, excluding exhibitors.
Foreign delegates from Europe, Japan, Canada, Indonesia, Korea, Papua New Guinea, US and other countries are also expected to attend the tuna congress.
The city tourism council headed by Jane Rollon-Rivera, wife of General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera, said they expect hundreds of local and foreign tourists to flock into the city following the succession of these events.
Guinness record attempt
The city will make an attempt to land into the Guinness World of Book of Records by breaking the 8-kilometer fish grill record held by Pangasinan’s Malangsi Fishtival.
But unlike the Malangsi Fishtival where an assortment of fish species were grilled, only tuna and tuna-like fishes will be placed on the charcoal lit grill guaranteeing a Philippine record at least in the grilled tuna category.
General Santos City is acknowledged as the country’s tuna capital with an annual average landing of at least 140,000 metric tons of tuna and other fishes and gross export revenues of at least US$250 million.
Last year’s total landing of 167,578.75 metric tons was the highest in since 2009 which recorded a total catch of 143,316.31 metric tons.
More than 20,000 workers are working directly in the 6 canning plants and in at least 160 fishing companies and operators in the city.
Close to ¼ of the city’s official population of almost 600,000 are indirectly dependent on the tuna industry. – Rappler.com
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