THE flourishing tourism industry of Negros Occidental is attributed to the continuous support the Provincial Government is receiving from its partner-stakeholders.
To celebrate these dynamic partnerships, the Negros Occidental Tourism Division has again hosted the Provincial Tourism Excellence Awards at the Provincial Capitol's Social Hall in Bacolod City on Friday, September 29.
Cristine Mansinares, provincial supervising tourism operations officer, said the Asean-inspired activity aims to recognize the best practices, innovations, and creativity of tourism offices in every local government unit (LGU).
Also, this is to serve as platform of celebration for partners in the private sector, who are actively supporting the growing tourism economy of the province, Mansinares said.
"Negros Occidental was able to receive numerous tourism recognitions because of our strong and active partnerships with the different sectors," she said, adding that "the awarding is our way to personally extend our heartfelt appreciation to all stakeholders."
The Province has recognized La Carlota City for its prompt submission of tourism statistics, while awarded as top LGUs with high tourist volume were cities of Bago, Cadiz, Kabankalan, Sagay and Sipalay, and towns of Hinobaan, Calatrava, Binalbagan, Cauayan, and Hinigaran.
Excellence awardees for tourism-oriented LGUs were cities of Bago, Cadiz, Sagay, San Carlos, Silay, and Victorias, and towns of Binalbagan, Calatrava, and Hinoba-an.
The province's nominees for this year's Pearl Awards of the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines - Department of Tourism (Atop-DOT) were also recognized.
These are Sipalay City for best tourism week celebration and best tourism event for its Kite Festival; Silay City - best practices in community-based heritage conservation; Sagay City - best practices in community-based tourism campaign and best tourism month celebration; Victorias City - best practices in community-based tourism campaign for its agri-ecotourism enhancement program; and Cadiz City - best tourism-oriented LGU.
Murcia, meanwhile, was adjudged as best booth for this year's Provincial Tourism Fair held at Robinson's Place Bacolod. Kabankalan City and Bago City were awarded as second and third place, respectively.
Punta Bulata Resort, Mambukal Mountain Resort, and Lakawon Island Resort and Spa received the Tourism Excellence awards for resorts.
The Province also recognized L'Fisher Hotel for serving as one of the prime supporters of the province significantly contributing to the development and promotion of tourism industry.
Speaking at the awarding rites, Roseller Ciocon Jr. representing Lourdes-C Group of Companies said the celebration is a unique opportunity to raise awareness among public and private sectors as well as decision makers on the contribution of tourism in sustainable development.
"It also fosters awareness among international community on the importance of tourism in social, cultural, political and economic development," Ciocon said, as he urged unity to make tourism a catalyst of positive change.
The Provincial Government also awarded 23 agencies and organizations that contributed to local tourism industry development.
These are the Alliance of Tour Guides in Occidental Negros, Association of Negros Producers, Association of Tourism Officers of Negros Occidental, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office-Negros Occidental, Department of Tourism-Western Visayas, Department of the Interior and Local Government-Negros Occidental, and Department of Science and Technology-Negros Occidental.
Also receiving the recognition were Hotel and Restaurant Association of Negros Occidental, Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, National Association of Independent Travel Agencies-Bacolod City Chapter, Negrense Blogging Society Inc., Negros Cultural Foundation, Negros Occidental Historical Council, Negros Press Club, and Network of Independent Travel Agencies-Negros Occidental Chapter.
Other recipient-organizations are Organik na Negros Organic Producers, Retailers Association, Philippine Life Saving Society, Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc., Provincial Environment Management Office, Spa Alliance of Negros, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority-Negros Occidental, and Tourism Educators and Movers Philippines-Western Visayas.
The awarding ceremony capped this year's Provincial Tourism Week celebration adapting the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s World Tourism Day theme, “Sustainable Tourism for Development.”
This is also hoped to motivate partners and individuals to continue offering products and services with the highest standards as provided under Republic Act 9593, or the National Tourism Act.