IN 1980, the general assembly of the United Nation World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) established the commemoration of a World Tourism Day every 27th of September. The event has been celebrated every year since then with various activities led by the UNWTO. The purpose is to foster awareness among the global community of tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic value and the contribution the sector can make in reaching the world’s Sustainable Development Goals. This year, in line with UNWTO’s overarching focus on skills, education and jobs throughout the year, World Tourism Day will be a celebration on the topic ‘Tourism and Jobs: a better future for all’.
The UNWTO stresses on Tourism’s role in job creation which is often undervalued. This is despite the fact that tourism generates 10% of world jobs and is incorporated in the world’s Sustainable Development Goals for its potential to create decent livelihood and work. New policies are needed to maximize tourism’s potential to create more and better jobs, especially for women and youth. New policies are also needed to reflect and incorporate ongoing advances and development in technology. The UNWTO calls on every country’s leaders for actions and policies which should be geared towards addressing the current mismatch between tourism skills that are taught and those that tourism employers need. This essentially requires a holistic approach to the future of work in tourism, with heightened cooperation between all actors, including the public and private sectors.
In La Trinidad, such call is also recognized with the following activities on and days prior to the World Tourism Day celebrations: our local legislators’ (Committee on Tourism: Coun. Francis Lee, Coun. John Botiwey, and Coun. Shontogan) public hearing activity on the La Trinidad Tourism Code which provides for an income generating provision that is expected to finally make our tourism development services sustainable, and a Tourism frontliners’ training on September 27, 2019, in line with the enhancement of tourism skills needed in quality tourism services. Last year, the Tourism Week celebration Ordinance primarily authored by then councilor, now Vice Mayor Roderick Awingan, is a monumental development in community tourism orientation that is now being recognized by the ATOP-DOT tourism awards as a best practice. With the popularity of tourism as a strategic direction in socio-economic development, local governments are expected to continue investing on the said sector in line with the recognized sustainable development goals.
La Trinidad’s Strawberry Festival and Tourism Week celebration was recently shortlisted as finalists for the ATOP-DOT awards 2019. The Benguet Association of Tourism Officers was also among those in the final list for the best tourism club in the country. Last year, the Strawberry Festival was cited as one of the best tourisms in the country in Cagayan De Oro City. Today’s ATOP Convention will be hosted by the Ilocos Region. Baguio-Benguet has not hosted an ATOP convention yet. Since ATOP 2020 will be in Mindanao, and ATOP 2021 will be in Visayas, ATOP 2022 shall be hosted by the Cordillera Region to mark its very first hosting in the history of the organization.