MANILA, Philippines - While attention remains focused on business process outsourcing, mining and other high-profile sectors, business activity in key areas of Mindanao that revolve around agriculture and fisheries appear to be surging ahead as well, according to keen observers there.
Ralph Lucila, president of Avis Philippines, notes the increase in “daytrippers” or business travelers who fly for the day into Davao and General Santos in Southern Mindanao and Cagayan de Oro in the island’s northern side to transact business mostly with agriculture-based enterprises and providers of support services. In their wake also follow executives from companies and agencies that offer the infrastructure support ranging from energy to road networks needed by a rapidly growing economy.
Lucila observes: “Generally, we’re seeing a varied group of travelers from various sectors including corporate executives, functional managers, academe, and government officials flying into Mindanao.” The surge in inbound and outbound travel spanning inter-regional as well as international trips has increased demand for transport solutions that offer service quality, reliability and safety.
Together, the economies of Northern Mindanao, Socsksargen and Davao accounted for more than 10 percent of the national economy in 2011, the third largest after Metro Manila and Calabarzon. Consequently, Avis’ Cagayan de Oro, Davao City and General Santos stations have never been busier renting out vehicles – mostly availing of the company’s 12-hour Short Stay Rental program. It serves company representatives who fly out of the National Capital Region during the wee hours of the morning to land in these key cities just in time for a 9 a.m. appointment. If they are renting a car from Avis, which has the most number of vehicles nationwide in the industry, they will opt to pick up the vehicle from its airport counters and proceed to a series of four or five meetings before bringing the vehicle back to the airport for the last flight home to Luzon in the evening.
The three biggest cities of Mindanao, hubs of growth in the region, straddle more than 59,000 square kilometers of land through rich agricultural farms and bustling growth corridors. For anyone who wishes to sell his products or services in the land of pineapples, bananas and tuna, driving through town in reliable Avis cars that are regularly maintained and no older than four years old is the way to go.
Lucila notes that Avis’ business in these cities have grown in the last three years. “Time is of the essence for daytrippers. At most they have a window of five hours and they opt for service quality providers that allow their stay to be as predictable as possible. They don’t want any surprises like vehicle breakdowns or hidden charges.” Should an emergency occur, they appreciate that Avis has a 24/7 hotline and can provide a back-up car so they can resume their schedules. It may often be cheaper to hire from locals in the area but without any service quality assurance, going for lower rates can often mean false economy.
In addition, Avis’ ability to serve practically all of the daytripper’s transport needs has won the brand a keen following. The business traveler taking an early flight out of Metro Manila, for example, can opt to have an Avis car pick him up from any of Metro Manila’s residential areas. After crisscrossing Mindanao in a rented Avis car, he can opt to be dropped off at any of the island’s key airports and be met in Metro Manila by another Avis car. Similarly, travelers from Mindanao can avail of the same transport convenience as they travel to Metro Manila and other key cities serviced by Avis.