TABUK CITY, KALINGA – Kalinga steps closer toward its goal of improving local tourism after P1.5 million worth of training proposals under the Tourism Industry Skills Program (TISP) were approved last week.
The Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the region’s Department of Tourism (DOT-CAR) and Mila S. Omengan, Co-Chairman of the Kalinga Provincial Tourism Council on September 12 in Baguio City. Out of the seven provinces in the region, only Kalinga, Benguet, and the municipality of Hungduan in Ifugao were granted funding under the TISP.
In an interview, Provincial Tourism Officer Dionica Alyssa Legasi said that availing of the TISP was a move to elevate Kalinga’s tourism industry to the standards of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). “Achieving ASEAN standards means following practices that make the tourism industry globally competitive. And in order to be globally competitive, we need to undergo training,” she explained.
Kalinga Tourism was able to get approval for eight training courses to be implemented from September to December 2017. The training, which participants may avail at no cost, cover the following courses: Tour Provision and Standards, Course on Front Office Operations, Transport Training, Ecotourism/Adventure Tourism Product Development and Enhancement, Course on Housekeeping and Service Excellence, and a course on Entrepreneurship Development.
The Tour Provision and Standards training is set for September 22-23 and six participants from each of the municipalities and city of Kalinga will be joining. The participants are tourism personnel, establishment owners, tour guides, and tour operators but Mercado said the training are open to anyone, 18 years-old and above, who is interested to be a part of the local tourism industry.
The set of training are expected to improve the skills and quality of services of Kalinga’s tourism sector as well as create business opportunities. “It’s actually also a means for poverty alleviation through income generation,” Mercado explained.
Further, the training are seen as a means to promote practices that will contribute to a sustainable and eco-friendly local tourism industry in line with the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) declaration of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism.
In the spirit of practicing sustainable tourism, Mercado said the Provincial Tourism Office in cooperation with the Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO) and the local government unit of barangay Bangad will have a clean-up drive on the Chico River on Saturday, September 23.
By Iryll Sicnao