Meeting of minds-A A +A
As I See It
Thursday, July 5, 2012
THE recent tourism stakeholders’ meeting at the Provincial Capitol was a serious interaction between the business sector and the government agencies involved in the industry. Everyone is aware that Negros Occidental has been tagged already by the National Anti-Poor Commission as number 11 among 609 poorest local government units in the country based on the survey conducted by the National Statistical Coordinating Board. This is not fun!
The representatives of the different sectors during the meeting made a firm stand to strengthen the tourism industry. Director Helen Catalbas of DOT-VI reminded all owners of tourism-oriented establishments in the province for the accreditation of their business in consonance with the Tourism Code of 2009. Tour operators have called the attention of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to monitor taxi units and vehicles operating at Bacolod (Silay) Airport, as some drivers charge passengers with exorbitant fare.
Nancy Pestaño, the consultant of the province on tourism matters, explained that the Negros website has been improved for tourists, investors and for the Negrenses to understand better what the local government is doing for the industry.
Imogene Canaan, Bacolod tourism officer, said that she will incorporate in the day-to-day program the possible presentation of MassKara dancers at Bacolod public plaza at a specific date and time because visitors coming to Bacolod are always asking about the MassKara dancers.
There are complaints that visitors arriving at the airport are sometimes not allowed to enter the gate. CAAP representatives said that there is an official time for the opening and closing of the airport gate for security reasons. The gate is opened at 4:30 in the morning and closes at 10:00 in the evening. Emergency concerns should be forwarded to the office of the manager in coordination with the Aviation Security Command.
Tour guides said that LGU and gasoline station comfort rooms should be made clean and ready always for the use of travelers in the province. It was noted that there are only a few comfort stops along the highway. Commendations were also given to Silay City toilets at the bus stop area, public plaza and civic center. These, together with the comfort rooms at the side of San Diego Cathedral, are all accredited by the Women in Travel.
LTFRB key officials have also assured Negrenses and visitors that all matters that concern their office will be dealt with accordingly and action will be provided urgently. It was confirmed also that the concreting of roads leading to tourism areas in Negros endorsed by DOT to DPWH has been approved already and it is just waiting for implementation.
The Negros Economic Enterprise Development Department, through the Negros Occidental Tourism Center, is also scheduling Basic Tourist Police Training in coordination with Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office. To date, 120 policemen have pre-registered for the training on July 10-11, 2012 at the Governor’s Hall, Provincial Capitol. Topics to be undertaken include “Overview of the Basic Tourist Police Training,” “Role and Mission of the Tourist Police,” “Overview of the Tourism Industry,” “Tourist Behavior Patterns and Market Profiles,” “Child-wise Tourism,” “Effective Customer Service” and “Philippine Industry.”
Police First Responders’ subjects to be tackled include tourist security protocol, basic investigation procedures, handling cases related to tourists and principles of tourist safety. There will be group dynamics also for values formation. Tourism products and services will also be presented to the participants. A technical tour on the strategic places will particularize the participant on their areas of responsibility.
Tourism is an industry where we need minds to meet minds to have full understanding of the issues and concerns which can make or unmake business in our province.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 05, 2012.