ECO­NOMIC GROWTH

‘Ba­colod tak­ing lead in tourism, Ne­gros will progress’

Sun Star Bacolod - - Front Page - BY MERLINDA A. PEDROSA

“TOURISM is the most in­clu­sive in­dus­try in the world to­day. ”

This was stressed by Marie Venus Tan, chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer of Tourism Pro­mo­tions Board (TPB), dur­ing the open­ing of the 6th edi­tion of the Philip­pine Meet­ings, In­cen- tives, Con­ven­tions and Ex­hi­bi­tions-con­fer­ence (Mice­con) at SMX Con­ven­tion Cen­ter in Ba­colod City.

Tan said tourism touches all sec­tors, a di­rect in­fu­sion to the econ­omy.

“We can­not un­der­score enough the im­por­tance of the in­dus­try in our econ­omy. I can­not un­der­score enough the im­por­tance of hav­ing lead­er­ship con­vinc­ing that the tourism in­dus­try will bring eco­nomic progress,” she added.

Tan noted that she was a re­gional di­rec­tor of the De­part­ment of Tourism

Cordillera (DOT-CAR) and she knows how it is and how dif­fi­cult it is to be able to con­vince if the lo­cal gov­ern­ment units are not in the same page any­more.

“This is Ba­colod and I think that lead­er­ship is tak­ing the lead. Ba­colod and the rest of Ne­gros will re­ally progress as far as tourism is con­cern,” Tan said.

She said Ba­colod and Ne­gros had beau­ti­ful des­ti­na­tions and land­scape.

She added TPB part­ners with var­i­ous lo­cal gov­ern­ment units to bring about an in­sti­tu­tional level of co­op­er­a­tion, es­tab­lish­ing a stead­fast part­ner­ship between the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors in aid of pro­pel­ling the Philip­pines as South­east Asia’s pre­mier Mice des­ti­na­tion.

Mice­con 2018, which was or­ga­nized by TPB, was at­tended by about 500 par­tic­i­pants from ho­tels, re­sorts, air­lines, events and con­ven­tions in­dus­tries in the coun­try.

Also present were As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary for Tourism De­vel­op­ment Plan­ning Roberto Alabado, De­part­ment of Tourism-6 di­rec­tor He­len Katal­bas, Coun­cilor Em Ang and City Ad­min­is­tra­tor John Orola.

Mayor Eve­lio Leonar­dia said he is thank­ful for TPB and DOT for bring­ing the Mice­con to Ba­colod, thus, mak­ing it part of the city’s char­ter an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion, its 80th year this 2018.

The mayor said the tourism sec­tor has been un­der­go­ing changes brought by the evo­lu­tion of the in­ter­net and dig­i­tal me­dia.

“It is worth look­ing back on how the travel in­dus­try has changed over the past few years, not only here in Ba­colod but glob­ally,” he added.

To keep pace with the fast chang­ing needs of trav­ellers and chal­lenges faced by the tourism in­dus­try, lo­cal gov­ern­ment has to act swiftly and ad­just its strate­gies for tourism de­vel­op­ment, the mayor said.

“We need to map out our ini­tia­tives and re­sources al­lo­ca­tion, tak­ing into ac­count var­i­ous fac­tors such as the global eco­nomic con­di­tions and mar­ket trends, trav­el­ling pat­terns and pref­er­ences as well as Ba­colod’s tourism of­fer­ings. This year, our em­pha­sis is to de­velop more new tourism prod­ucts to dif­fer­en­ti­ate Ba­colod from other des­ti­na­tions,” Leonar­dia said.

To sig­nify the im­por­tance, he said, they at­tach to the tourism in­dus­try, they will in­vest in a num­ber of tourism-re­lated de­vel­op­ments and they shall strive to en­hance the qual­ity of tourism in­fra­struc­ture on var­i­ous fronts.

He added the con­struc­tion for the P65 mil­lion mu­seum and au­di­to­rium, which is cour­tesy of Sen­a­tor Juan Miguel Zu­biri, will start in the next few months.

The mayor pointed out it will be a state-of-the-art, iconic build­ing and the very first green gov­ern­ment build­ing in the prov­ince, if not in the re­gion.

The city will also build a col­i­seum that can hold an au­di­ence of 12,000 peo­ple.

“We be­lieve that the new mea­sures will fur­ther en­hance the tourism ap­peal of Ba­colod and es­tab­lish our po­si­tion as a pre­mier Mice des­ti­na­tion. We are also con­fi­dent that the com­ple­tion of this in­fra­struc­ture and fa­cil­i­ties will im­prove our at­trac­tive­ness and com­pet­i­tive­ness in at­tract­ing more peo­ple to visit Ba­colod for busi­ness and plea­sure,” Leonar­dia said.

He said tourism is one of the city’s eco­nomic driv­ers, other than BPO-ICT. The growth of the tourism in­dus­try is a phe­nom­e­non that hits much closer to the most ba­sic needs of the peo­ple.

Mice­con con­sol­i­dates and strength­ens all sec­tors in­volved in the Mice in­dus­try by pro­vid­ing an ideal plat­form for a com­pre­hen­sive ed­u­ca­tional pro­gram and trade op­por­tu­nity for the Philip­pine Mice and tourism prac­ti­tion­ers.

It also aims to show­case new de­vel­op­ments, es­tab­lish­ments, and prod­ucts in the host city and in­crease the lev­els of cre­ativ­ity and pro­fes­sion­al­ism and fur­ther up­grade ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the host city in tar­get­ing and han­dling the Mice mar­ket.

Mean­while, Mice­con speak­ers are Ami Valde­moro, board di­rec­tor of My Shel­ter Foun­da­tion and Liter of Light; So­phie Metler, head in­ter­na­tional part­ner­ship of Make a Dif­fer­ence (MAD) Travel; Su­san Sar­fati, CEO of High Per­for­mance Strate­gies; Liz Jack­son, CEO of High Per­for­mance Strate­gies; Jerry Sibal, world-renowned event de­signer and florist; Tyler Enslin, owner and key­note speaker of Tyler Enslin In­ter­na­tional; Tina Altieri, broad­caster and con­sul­tant/trainer; KF See­toh, founder of Makan­su­tra; An­thony Diaz, founder and creator of Our Awe­some Planet; Thomas Gray, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager of Asia Pa­cific Events Air; Grace Gayoso, mo­ti­va­tional speaker; Charise Ma­son, founder/man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Digichic In­te­grated Mar­ket­ing; Karun Budhraja, vice pres­i­dent of Cor­po­rate Mar­ket­ing and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Peo­ple and Cul­ture; Peng Ee Ooi, gen­eral man­ager of Global Com­merce, TTG Asia; Ja­son Yeh, founder and CEO of GIS Group; Jane Vomg Holmes, se­nior man­ager-asia of Gain­ing Edge (Aus­tralia); and Scott Frei­d­man, mo­ti­va­tional hu­morist and chief cel­e­bra­tion of­fi­cer.

The event will end to­day with a farewell din­ner at 7 p.m. at the Ru­ins, Tal­isay City.*

MERLINDA PEDROSA

BA­COLOD City Mayor Eve­lio Leonar­dia (3rd from left) and Tourism Pro­mo­tions Board chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Marie Venus Tan (3rd from right), with (from left) Coun­cilor Em Ang, De­part­ment of Tourism-6 di­rec­tor He­len Katal­bas, City Ad­min­is­tra­tor John Orola, and DOT as­sis­tant sec­re­tary Roberto Alabado III, led the open­ing cer­e­mony for the Mice­con 2018 at SMX Con­ven­tion Cen­ter in Ba­colod City Wed­nes­day.

CAPI­TOL PHOTO

NE­GROS Oc­ci­den­tal Gover­nor Al­fredo Marañon Jr. (right) leads the rib­bon-cut­ting cer­e­mony at the open­ing of the 13th Ne­gros Is­land Or­ganic Farm­ers Fes­ti­val yes­ter­day at the Capi­tol grounds, with Soil and Or­ganic Move­ment Inc. CEO Rei Yoon, Eric Drake Wein­ert Jr. of Nat­u­ral Farm­ing Hawaii, Richard Hughes of Nis­ard, Pro­vin­cial Agri­cul­tur­ist Japhet Masculino, Pro­vin­cial Ve­teri­nar­ian Renante De­cena, Jerry Dion­son of the Na­tional Or­ganic Agri Board, and Merced­i­tas Mon­tilla.

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