DOT 6: Beat ‘col­o­rum’ tour guides

Sun Star Bacolod - - Business - BY ER­WIN P. NICAVERA

IN OR­DER to beat “col­o­rum” guides, the top of­fi­cial of the De­part­ment of Tourism (DOT) in Western Visayas has recognized the need to strengthen the pres­ence of ac­cred­ited tour guides in the re­gion in­clud­ing Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal.

DOT Re­gion 6 Di­rec­tor He­len Catal­bas, who was the key­note speaker at the Re­gional Tour Guid­ing Train­ing Grad­u­a­tion 2019 held at the Pro­vin­cial Capi­tol’s So­cial Hall in Ba­colod City on Satur­day, said “col­o­rum” guides are just “any­body” of­fer­ing guid­ing ser­vices.

Catal­bas, in his mes­sage, said the qual­ity of ser­vices can­not be as­sured in­clud­ing the in­for­ma­tion shared if the in­dus­try is dom­i­nated by non-ac­cred­ited tour guides.

“Count your­selves as among those who will re­ally pro­mote Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal, Western Visayas and Philip­pines,” she told the grad­u­ates.

It can be re­called that the Pro­vin­cial Gov­ern­ment of Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal, through its Tourism Di­vi­sion, has pro­duced 25 new Dot-trained tour guides in the prov­ince.

Th­ese tour guides form part of the 27 par­tic­i­pants of the weekly Tour Guid­ing Train­ing Course start­ing March this year.

They grad­u­ated af­ter com­plet­ing and pass­ing the 23-day train­ing course con­ducted ev­ery week­end un­til June 2 this year.

For her part, Pro­vin­cial Su­per­vis­ing Tourism Oper­a­tions Of­fi­cer Cris­tine Mansinares said, though they are trained now, it is vi­tal for this batch of tour guides to prac­tice what they have learned in­clud­ing the knowl­edge and tech­ni­cal

skills.

Mansinares said trained guides have to con­tinue reading more about the prov­ince, re­gion and coun­try.

“Tour guid­ing is very dy­namic as ev­ery now and then, the fig­ures are chang­ing. There are up­dates on in­for­ma­tion as well as on var­i­ous is­sues that might be shared,” she said, adding that the grad­u­ates should or­ga­nize them­selves so they can be eas­ily tapped.

In sup­port to the state­ment of Catal­bas, the pro­vin­cial tourism of­fi­cial said the DOT can­not en­ter­tain com­plaints from tour op­er­a­tors and other en­ter­prises who are get­ting ser­vices from guides not cer­ti­fied by the agency.

This is one of the neg­a­tive im­pacts if the in­dus­try is dom­i­nated by the pres­ence of “col­o­rum” guides, Mansinares said.

“Now that we have a pool of tour guides that can be uti­lized, we can al­ready en­cour­age tour en­ter­prises to get their ser­vices,” she added.

Cur­rently, there are only seven Dot-ac­cred­ited tour guides in Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal.

The ac­cred­i­ta­tion for the 25 new trained tour guides is al­ready on process and up for ap­proval within the year.

The train­ing course on tour guid­ing was ini­ti­ated by the Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal Tourism Di­vi­sion, Dotwest­ern Visayas and Tourism Ed­u­ca­tors and Movers Philip­pines-western Visayas.

This is on top of spe­cial­ized tour guid­ing ac­tiv­i­ties be­ing con­ducted in the prov­ince like bird watch­ing and farm tour guid­ing.

The grad­u­ates were com­posed of grad­u­at­ing col­lege stu­dents, re­tired pro­fes­sion­als, artists and even med­i­cal doc­tors, among oth­ers.*

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

DOT-WESTERN Visayas team led by Re­gional Di­rec­tor He­len Catal­bas (ninth from left) with Pro­vin­cial Su­per­vis­ing Tourism Oper­a­tions Of­fi­cer Cris­tine Mansinares (eight from right) and other pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, and 25 trained tour guides dur­ing their grad­u­a­tion rites at the Pro­vin­cial Capi­tol’s So­cial Hall in Ba­colod City on Satur­day.

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