Department of Tourism (DOT) said that tour guides, as well as the other members of the travel and tourism sector, must tell the world the great stories behind the country’s diverse destinations, highlighting the rich Filipino heritage, culture, traditions and values.
Teo made the assertion during the 8th National Tour Guides Convention and General Assembly held at Hotel Jen in Manila, a gathering of travel and tour stakeholder representatives from both public and private sectors, including delegates from the Southeast Asia Tourist Guides Association, and 350 members of the Philippine Federation of National Tour Guides from all over the country.
“Go beyond the usual training on customer service. Tour guide training should be able to empower all of you on how to tell the story of your destinations. You know your destinations better and these stories must come from you. Take ownership of these stories,” the Tourism Secretary said.
The tourism chief further said that tour guides must share with visitors not just information that are already available on the internet, instead tell more personal Filipino narratives about the people’s journey, of a people’s resiliency and passion for country.”
“If our guests and visitors find the stories interesting and inspiring, they will stay longer, contribute to the local economy more and see the Philippines differently,” added Teo.
She disclosed that she has given instructions to the Regional Offices of the DOT to devote funding for the continuous training of tour guides all over the country and allocate the necessary resources to ensure such is done as soon as possible.
The DOT has earmarked a total budget of PhP1.2 M for its three-pronged training program for tour guides whichcovers the regional tourguiding course, continuing education, and community guiding seminar.
As of February of this year alone, a total of 49 applicants from the National Capital Region (NCR) have applied for the regional tourguiding course, 16 of whom took the course and eight are in the waiting list for the second run.
The DOT expects the numbers to rise as compared to 2016, which only saw a total of 44 newly accredited tour guides, 20 of whom were from the NCR and 22 from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).