THE Department of Tourism (DOT) in Western Visayas is pushing for innovation among tourism enterprises in the region, including Negros Occidental, director Helen Catalbas said.

Catalbas, who spoke at the Tourism Enterprise Innovation and Self-Reinvention Techniques Seminar at GT Hotel in Bacolod City Monday, April 9, said local enterprises should be updated on what is “in and up” for the hospitality and retailing industries.

Catalbas said the seminar is important because this is given by an industry practitioner who has been to all major tourist destinations in the world.

The resource person has been immersed in the industry of tourism and retailing for the longest time, she said, stressing that “we need to be at par not only with our Asean neighbors but also with the rest of the world.”

About 60 tourism enterprises in Negros Occidental including accredited tourism accommodation establishments, souvenir shops, pasalubong centers and travel agencies, among others, are attending the two-day seminar until today.

This is implemented under the agency's Tourism Industry Skills Program (TISP), in collaboration with Asean Development Bank.

The sessions include topics on managing business operations effectively towards efficiency, productivity and profitability; revolutionizing the customer service in the Philippines; making a significant difference with quality orientation; and reinventing ourselves for desired culture and results.

During the seminar, speaker and trainer Francisco Dela Cruz Jr. underscored the importance of embedding green or natural, wooden or basic, digital, and human elements in the business.

Dela Cruz, who has 35 years of experience in various industries both inside and outside the country, said these elements enable tourism enterprises to be more attractive to the market.

“Going digital, for instance, captures more potential clients especially the millennial who are more into visuals,” he said, adding that “human element, meanwhile, is very essential in dealing with guests.”

The TISP has been implemented by the regional line agency since last year.

In 2017, various skills trainings were conducted in Antique, Aklan and Capiz. DOT-6 targets to cover tourism enterprises in Negros Occidental and Iloilo this year.

For Negros Occidental alone, the agency has also started conducting trainings for food and beverages.

Other activities lined up for the province include festival management, ecotourism guiding, and water safety for customer service. (EPN)