Tourist guides undergo tourism entrepreneurship program
THE Philippines is gaining ground as a travel hot spot worldwide. With the country’s growing economic strength, the country is now looking rosy for tourists who are searching for a tropical adventure. And it is through local tourist guides that visitors can better learn and appreciate the beauty of this island province.
To better empower these people who represent the country’s tourism, Primer Group of Cos.—the company known for the retail and distribution of premium consumer brands in outdoor, urban lifestyle and travel—offered a sustainable tourism entrepreneurship program to help the guides gain more credibility.
Through its Center for Outdoor Recreation and Expedition (CORE), local tourist guides were geared Tubong Lokal’s projects in Baler, Sagada and Palawan. This tourism development assistance program seeks to boost local tourism by providing the necessary skills and gear. CORE is the advocacy arm of Primer Group that teaches the public to support environmental conservation, ecotourism and community development.
According to Kristine Villaflor, program manager, TubongLokal’s primary thrust is to identify and develop feasible tourism opportunities tailor-made for every local community.
“TubongLokal is part of CORE’s many efforts of promoting adventure and ecotourism in the country. We help assist in the procurement of equipment by sourcing grants for the chosen community; help them develop marketing and promotional materials; and link them to our stores to market their tourism products,” Villaflor said.
She added, “Now, TubongLokal is giving tour guides the opportunity to gain more confidence in imparting their knowledge about their locality through its own ongoing projects. We are inspiring them to have the entrepreneurial attitude toward developing sustainable tourism in the community.”
Support for the fisher folks
SINCE 2010, CORE has been supporting the fisher folks in their training and across 10 different sites in the Philippines through the BuhayDagat initiative in partnership with Blue Water Consultancy, the pioneer partnership project of TubongLokal.
The fisher folks underwent training as Reef Rangers (snorkelling guides), giving them an alternative livelihood. In this respect, CORE has distributed rash guard uniforms, snorkelling equipment and official IDs, which will serve as their certification.
Last year CORE completed an on-site marketing and promotion support for Palaui Island, Santa Ana, Cagayan.
Adopting Baler, Sagada and Palawan
TO further strengthen its campaign, CORE has adopted local communities in Baler, Sagada and Palawan to develop different adventure tours and train more local guides.
For Baler, CORE brought its Expedition Team to explore the community and identify three different adventure activities: trekking, camping and biking. Furthermore, it coordinated with different public and private organizations to commission local guides to bring the adventure to their potential customers. For a safer outdoor escapade, these guides are immersed in personal emergency training, nature guiding and customer service.
“Our tour guides are the face of local tourism in the Philippines. To make them more credible, it is important for them to be knowledgeable about safety and customer engagement to keep their customers coming back,” Villaflor emphasized.
Aside from this, CORE entered a strategic joint venture with the local organization guides in Sagada, organizing the three-day “High Angle Rescue Training” to promote the safety of the guides and the guests.
CORE coordinated with Sagada’s local government body to officially institutionalize the training. Villaflor said, “Baler and Sagada are just two of the local communities we thrived in to implement the project. CORE also explored Palawan, giving its local guides new uniforms and initial training on basic life support.”
A place for the action-oriented
THE Philippines has become a magnet for action-packed tourists, with tons of exciting outdoor adventures waiting in store for them. For its part, CORE will continue to seek the support of private and public entities to promote outdoor sports while bearing safety in mind.
She concluded, “Embarking on an adventure in the Philippines need not come at the expense of anyone’s safety nor the environment’s protection. With the help of our local tour guides, every tourist will be able to experience the ultimate outdoor adventure that’s unmistakably Filipino.”