THE Inter-island Tourism Policy Forum (Itop) hosted by the Province of Cebu last Oct. 17 to 18 at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu and Radisson Blu Cebu tackled the theme, “Synergizing MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions) with Culture and Heritage” discussed by the leaders, stakeholders and academe of the member regions of Cebu, Philippines; Jeju, South Korea; Hainan, People’s Republic of China; Southern Province, Sri Lanka; Phuket, Thailand; Penang, Malaysia; Kampong Cham, Cambodia and Okinawa, Japan. There were interactive presentations from travel stakeholders and the academe; and student groups from selected colleges and universities.
Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide Jr. and Cebu Vice Gov. and Tourism exponent Agnes Magpale spoke about Cebu’s wealth of countryside heritage and their commitment to the Itof’s policy to widen its global linkages. Heritage and culture are “in the midst of a survival crisis” because tourism thrusts have been focusing more on nature and technology. Through MICE, the high level representatives of the Itof member regions agreed that they will establish attainable policies within each region to enhance and promote the tourism thrusts of heritage and culture, as well as, introduce an incentive system to further develop their respective tourism industries.
The academic forum of some 250 students and faculty reinforced the need to preserve and promote tradition through wide media and social networking, exchange programs and curriculum.
The 2018 Itop will be in Penang, Malaysia.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on October 24, 2017.
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