DOT: Storytelling is the heart of tour guiding

DOT: Storytelling is the heart of tour guiding
Photo by Roel Amazona/DOT-Eastern Visayas

DEPARTMENT of Tourism (DOT)-Eastern Visayas Director Karen Tiopes has urged local tour guides to strengthen their storytelling skills to invite more visitors.

“Tour guiding is storytelling. Tourism is all about stories. You may have a very beautiful natural site, but that is just a site if there is no story to tell,” said Tiopes.

“As guides, we have a great responsibility to bring out the best of our place, the place we call home. You are the heart of the tour,” she added.

As part of its tour guiding project, the DOT in the region trained at least 35 senior citizens from Tacloban City and Palo town in Leye to become community guides.

The recently concluded seven-day training program provided a “transformative journey” to the elderly tour guides as they were introduced to various tour guiding topics, the Filipino Brand of Service, and even first aid application.

“As tour guides, it is not our job to merely describe what tourists can see. As elders, we possess a wealth of stories that surpass those of younger people. This is why I requested to engage with you. I hope you will believe that you can be a tour guide,” Tiopes said.

To inspire the participants, Tiopes highlighted the achievements of elderly tour guides like Erlyn Alunan, 63, from San Joaquin, Iloilo, and Artie Lacson, over 80, from Negros.

She also showcased Eastern Visayas tour guides based in Samar, such as Eugene Igdalino, who operates the Ulot River Torpedo Boat Extreme Ride and Adventure in Paranas, and Larry Rambacod, who progressed from a community tour guide in Basey to a regional tour guide.

For their hands-on experience, participants engaged in a mock tour that began at Summit Hotel in Tacloban, traversed Real Street, passed Tacloban City Hall, continued along Magsaysay Boulevard, and visited notable landmarks including the old provincial capitol building and McArthur Park in Palo.

Tiopes reminded the elderly participants to start collecting and sharing stories, particularly the historical narratives of their localities, to develop scripts they can use in community guiding."

"This initiative not only aims to enrich the tourism experience but also to empower the elderly by recognizing their valuable contributions to preserving and sharing local history and culture," she said.

The tour guiding project for the elderly was in collaboration with the tourism offices of Palo and Tacloban and the Offices of Senior Citizens Affairs from both local government units. (Ronald O. Reyes/SunStar Philippines)

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