De Leon: Hotels industry competitive

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Thursday, August 28, 2014


THE hospitality industry in the country is highly competitive and will not fall behind upon the implementation of the Asean free trade agreement come 2015.

This Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio president and Baguio Country Club general manager Anthony de Leon assured Wednesday.

"We are very competitive," he told media highlighting the human resources of the industry in the country are armed with skills and values needed in the industry.

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"As a matter of fact, most of the workers surrounding us in the Asean countries are Filipino workers," he stressed.

He said there's no wonder the country has a high turnover of skilled Filipino workers abroad especially those from the front line services because workers trained here, particularly in Baguio, are highly employable.

Aside from their knowledge and skills which they gain from their trainings and years of experience, Filipino workers' fluency in English and the service-oriented culture also makes them stand out among workers from other Asean countries.

"The culture of the Filipinos is always trying and willing to serve," he cited.

"We are in a better position to provide service that's why we are competitive," he said.

Meanwhile, de Leon noted it is a challenge for the country to compete with other Asean countries in terms of tourist arrivals.

This is because other Asean countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam among others are still ahead of the Philippines, which only has around two million tourist arrivals annually.

He shared in this regard the Department of Tourism (DOT) aims to improve the tourism industry and achieve 10 billion visitors annually two years from now by starting with regulation of hotels, restaurants and other service establishments.

While de Leon said hospitality establishments share the same endeavor with the DOT, he asked for the government agency "to properly position and market the country.”

"The efforts of the DOT are geared towards standardization," de Leon said stressing this will enable the country to compete with other Asean countries in terms of tourism.

He explained the agency is looking into accreditation of tourism establishments so they maybe regulated pursuant to the Tourism Code of the Philippines which assures quality standards.

He added the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority will also strengthen its certification program for hospitality practitioners, which will make them be recognized by Asean countries.

Furthermore, he reminded the competition in the tourism and hospitality industry is not in a regional basis but rather among other Asean countries.

While Baguio City is still being considered by some as a competitor of toursist destinations such as Tagaytay, Palawan, Boracay and other tourist destinations, he said there should be no competition as they all share the same endeavor and that is promoting tourism in the country.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 29, 2014.

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