IT IS an honor for me to have been invited by Cristine Mansinares, supervising tourism operations officer, and Dr. Lucille Gelvolea, acting provincial administrator, to join the team of resource persons who will give seminar on taxi drivers in Negros Occidental for tourism services. Mayor Mark Golez and lawyer Ryan Montoro, city administrator of Silay, have given me a go-signal.
The Province of Negros Occidental, City of Bacolod, Provincial Tourism Office and Grab have set the following dates: July 24-26. The retinue starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. I was requested to handle the topic, “Passenger Care.” The sharing will be focused on providing an excellent customer service and extending courtesies towards those passengers with special needs.
We call this event also as “Tourism Awareness Activity for Taxi Drivers.” It is designed to provide information on the current situation of our local tourism industry. It is also aimed at raising awareness on the importance of tourism development and its impact on the tourism sector. We want to improve the skills of our taxi drivers in engaging with tourists, and increase their knowledge on our local tourism attractions.
This activity is also beneficial for Silay City because the airport is in our area of responsibility. For more than five years already, I have been helping Ma. Mecine T. Reyes, the airport manager, in giving basic tourism protocol to our taxi drivers operating at the airport. The airport in Silay is our welcome line in the province of Negros Occidental. The Information Center there is managed by employees from the Silay City Government and the Provincial Capitol.
The “Drivers’ Training for Tourism Services” will have the participation of Jocelyn Ann Yoshida, Grab manager in Bacolod City, who will give the welcome remarks. Cristine Mansinares, supervising tourism operations officer of Negros Occidental, will deliver the message on behalf of the provincial government. Jennylind Cordero of the Provincial Tourism Office will talk on “Knowing your Tourists, Tourism Trends, and Components of the Tourism Industry.” Jenny wants to make our drivers aware on what we have in Negros.
Raymund Alunan-Bayot will bring the attention of the drivers to “Local Tourism Attractions, Guiding Techniques, and Itinerary.” Cheryl Jareño will impart “Communication Skills and Commentary Techniques.” I stated earlier, I will handle “Passenger Care.” Neel Abordoje of the Land Transportation Office-Bacolod City will impart “The Art of Driving and Driving Decorum.” Synthesis and closing message will be done by Butch Gerasmo, tourism officer of Bacolod City.
We always believe that the tourist driver is a representative of the transportation sector in the tourism industry who makes travel safe for the tourists. He belongs to the “Meet and Greet” committee of the industry being a first liner in welcoming visitors. He is one of the ambassadors of the industry because he speaks of goodwill and projects the kind of hospitality in his town, city, province and region.
The tourist driver believes that real generosity is doing something for visitors who will never find out. His smiles and kind words make tourists comfortable in a place away from home. He never cheats because in him is the Spirit of the living God. He is fair and holds no biases in religion, politics, race and ideology. He is service-oriented and remains humble in his beloved profession… trusting God, serving humanity, and loving his family.
He walks with faith and believes that he looks good, smells good, and does what is good. He considers that cleanliness is next to godliness and his car is “flawless” and “elegant.” He is a man of law, and what is mandated by law is his law. For him a happy passenger is a satisfied passenger. Drivers are drivers because there are passengers.
This is one good thing we are preparing for our tourism industry. Big investments are already here in Negros Occidental. In the coming months, we will have more malls, hotels, and convention centers. The economic zone and the Magic Island will be in Silay soon. We expect our airport to undergo modernization. Our province will truly be the “Land of Sweet Surprises.”
As our tourism industry progresses, we expect thousands of visitors to come. We need professional tourist drivers to serve them. Upon arrival our visitors will experience the hospitality of our drivers. The same good drivers will take our visitors to the airport or seaport during their departure. Negros drivers are there to provide “sweet welcome” and “meaningful goodbye.”
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on July 22, 2017.
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