THE theme of the World Tourism Day 2019 is “Tourism and Jobs: A Better Future For All”. World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvii says the “true potential of tourism, both as a creator of jobs and as a driver of equality and sustainable development, is only just being realized. Public and private sector stakeholders around the world need to work together to ensure the many benefits that come with rising tourist arrivals are shared as widely as possible.”
The opening ceremony held last September in New Delhi focused on helping small enterprises and entrepreneurs scale-up their ideas to disrupt the sector and promote sustainability and inclusivity. The importance of innovation and maximizing tourism’s potential to create more and better jobs.
In the Philippines, one of the most common niche of tourism is festival tourism. While Filipinos love festivals, tourism planners also need to explore beyond the usual molds. Festivals that have established a sizable traction of audience from a wider geographic reach must be used by host cities as leverage to higher value activities like international business conferences, national industry conventions and community activities that allow everyone to participate according to their interests, age groups, and access.
Tourism stakeholders need to continuously study global trends and tourist behavior, cross reference with these trends with other areas like information and communications technology (ICT), ecology, and socio-economic issues. For example, tourism stakeholders should have captured the latest big data about the nature of millennials, and succeeding generations. The new generation is said to invest more in experience and travel instead than in material things. Tourism stakeholders in all local government units (LGUs) should aggressively explore strategies in other niches of tourism that allow young people to enjoy their travelling experience.
Adventure or sports tourism which includes bike race, marathons, triathlons, hiking, golf tournaments and many more have always drawn throngs of people. When this happens, the demand for food, accommodation, transportation and souvenirs spike, and eventually benefit the local economy.
Heritage or historical tourism which involves interest in old architectures and historical landmarks have tremendously been pushed by the Internet because of the breadth of information that’s accessible out there. Stakeholders in this field must explore the Internet to connect the young generation to old stories so that their imaginations are captured enough to jump aboard the next flight.
Social tourism is anchored on visiting communities and living with these communities not only to experience but to also provide economic opportunities. This field provides tourists greater awareness of environmental and social issues.
Retirement tourism is along the line of the latest call of UNWTO for inclusive tourism. While tourism seems to only be associated with “activeness” or “energy” - today senior citizens who can afford to travel the world are found in almost all top locations that offer safe facilities also for persons with disabilities (PWDs).
Tourism stakeholders should leverage on the internet. Sadly in Negros Occidental - more than half of the LGUs have no interactive websites or no websites at all.
Online presence is one of the exponential way to increase visibility. LGUs in Negros Occidental must leverage on new technologies to enhance tourism.