Tourist guides un­dergo tourism en­trepreneur­ship pro­gram

Business Mirror - - TOURISM & ENTERTAINMENT -

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.”

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