The SHTM Tour Guiding Challenge 2013-A A +A
By Betsy Gazo
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
I CONGRATULATE the winners of this year’s Tour Guiding Challenge at La Consolacion College’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (SHTM). The challenge had two categories, i.e. the Domestic Category and International Category where contestants were assigned either cities in the Philippines or countries in Asia to present to the panel judges in the best way they can as virtual tour guides.
For the Domestic Category, first place went to Joelyn Baladhay (BSTM 3), second place to Karla Padrigo (BSTM 3), third place to Janselle Tayros (BSTM 2), fourth place to Dhevy Joy Villagonzalo (BSTM 1), and fifth place to Corinth Chua (BSTM 3). The International Category winners were BSTM 3 Bea Marielle Berio (first place), BSTM 2 Rizelle Alburo (second place), BSTM 2 Ma. Kimberly Acenas (third place), BSTM 3 Mark Legpit (fourth place), and BSTM 1 Leanne Lorayna (fifth place).
There was no one prouder of them than their mentors Dr. Gina B. Montes, the Dean of SHTM, Mrs. Sheryl B. Pacheco, Program Head, BS Tourism Management, Tourism Instructors Mrs. Imogene Kanaan, Mrs. Theresa Jennifer Mendoza, and Mrs. Anne Heather Guerrero. These ladies and male instructors Messrs. Raymond Alunan and Warner Longno are the mentors and the encouragers of our young talents who show a lot of potential as front-liners of the Philippine tourism industry.
Many factors made up that winning combination of the right appearance and excellent communication skills. A neat appearance that exudes professionalism (sexiness can turn out to be a bane and sends off the wrong signal to clients) is an essential part of the job. Excellent communications skills, of course, is a big advantage and this includes having good English grammar and correct pronunciation. (The success of Roger “Laksoon” the guide at The Ruins is an anomaly.) Never to be relegated to the back is the ability to recall data and facts and other little stories that would make a tour an interesting one although the three-minute time limit did not allow the contestants to exhibit thoroughly that aspect of the job. During the competition, there were little hitches that distracted the competitors but these were the moments that tested their quick-thinking abilities. In real life, mishaps are bound to happen so the tourist guide better be ready for, and learn how to deal with, them.
Some contestants must have forgotten that the competition is for tour guiding and not for declamation, so some tended to be dramatic with their pieces. Judges usually prefer the more conversational style that will put the guests at ease and start the trip pleasantly although starting in high spirits is ideal. The problem with being over-enthusiastic at the start is the unrealistic expectations a guest might have with the guide.
The time slot for each participant being only three minutes does not truly reflect the actual work required from the guide. Enthusiasm is fine, that is, if it can be sustained throughout the day while standing inside the bus.
Tour guiding seems an attractive endeavor because it evokes travelling around the province for free, getting to meet interesting people, and being paid a pretty sum at the end of the tour. It can be physically and emotionally draining, too, considering that, depending on the arrival of the guests, one has to wake up early to get to the airport to be there before the plane lands. (One rule of tour guiding is never to be late for work!) The guests do not care whether you’ve had enough sleep or not but they do notice when you act grumpy (because secretly you are hungry/sleepy/having your period/thirsty/tired from standing/tired of talking/hot/rain-soaked/worried about the vehicle/vehicle is out of order/have a headache/clients inattentive/clients noisy/clients grumpy).
The travel business requires you to be pleasant regardless of what’s happening around you. Here, it’s the customer who is king.
Still, taking our guests around Negros is one of the most pleasurable ways of promoting our culture, sights and food. To be a tour guide is to be proud of where you come from and letting a visitor see our province in a positive light.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 20, 2013.