OVER 80 places, organizations, and people made it to this year’s Tourism Star Awards of the City Government of San Fernando, which commends their greatest impacts on the City’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Given the existing restrictions, the annual award on September 27 was held via digital ceremony, as the City models for “safe tourism” advocacy.

Opening the ceremony, City Tourism Officer Ching Pangilinan said that while the award’s original core vision remains the same, this year’s Tourism Star Awards puts on spotlight the Covid-19 responses of the travel and tourism sector.

“The Tourism Star Awards was designed to recognize, acknowledge, and celebrate individuals, businesses, and partners in the travel and tourism industry that have shown the highest level of dedication, creativity, excellence, and adoption of best practices and innovation,” she said.

“Now in its fourth year, it will celebrate and honor the people and the organizations that have made a significant impact on the Covid-19 recovery and response strategies of the City Government,” the statement added.

This year, the awardees came from six categories, namely, Department of Tourism-related establishments (TREs), Tourism Statistics Excellence Awards, Covid-19 Tourism Heroes, Most Participative Tourism Frontliner Award, Best Tourism-Oriented Barangays, and Partner Organizations.

The “DOT-accredited TREs” category had the most number of awardees, as it catered to accommodation establishments, travel and tour agencies, MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) facility, restaurants, tour guides, and agrifarm tourism sites.

In a video message, DOT-Central Luzon Director Carolina Uy extended her salutations to the awardees, citing they have met all the standards set by the department.

“I applaud the tourism establishments and frontliners for committing themselves to the quality standards set forth by the DOT. Surely, the annual awards will lift the morale of our stakeholders and motivate them to keep pushing for excellence,” she said.

For his part, Mayor Edwin Santiago likened the awardees to real stars that give light and color to the city’s culture and tradition.

“Sila ay parang mga bituin na patuloy na nagbibigay-liwanag sa kultura at tradisyon ng San Fernando. For me, an active tourism industry is one of the star factors that make a nation or a community progressive. And I am proud to say that the City of San Fernando is progressive because we are a powerhouse of active tourism industry partners like you, which we call our stars,” he said. (PR)