MISAMIS Oriental has been shortlisted as one of the three provinces in the entire country to compete for the Best Tourism-Oriented Local Government Unit (LGU) Provincial Category in the prestigious Association of Tourism Officers in the Philippines – Department of Tourism (ATOP-DOT) Pearl Awards.
Provincial Tourism Department head Jeffrey Saclot said hosting the ATOP National Convention last year and establishing the provincial tourism office as a department are some of the advantages they have against their competitors.
"I think one of our edges is the fact that we are now a department. Compared to other provinces, ang tourism office dinhi sa lalawigan is already a department," Saclot said.
"And I think dagko kaayo'g contribution ang atong pag-host sa national convention last year because dili tanan probinsya ang makagahum pag-host. Since we are considering the security, the facilities, the readiness of the people, the tourist spots kung ready na ba sila modawat og bisita, those are the considerations nga gabasihan sa atong mga judges," he added.
Provincial Governor Yevgeny Emano, for his part, said the tourism industry has been successful.
"With the recognition that Misamis Oriental is getting, I think we're on the right track. And three years more, I think we'll be able to do more," Emano said.
Emano and Saclot have flown to Manila to defend the tourism practices of the province in a panel presentation held in the University of Santo Tomas.
"Hopefully, we'll get the highest distinction," Saclot said.
"We want to send a message to the whole Philippines that the administration of Governor Bambi is very much serious in promoting tourism in the province," he added.
Last year, it was Ilocos Norte that won the Pearl Award for Best Tourism-Oriented Province in the Philippines.
The annual search for the best tourism-oriented LGUs in the Philippines is given to the province, city, and municipality that shows a sustainable tourism development program as defined in the Tourism Act of 2009.