September 13 may have fallen on a Friday but it seemed that blessings in many different forms showered Batangas province particularly its tourism sector.
LGU officials of various municipalities and cities of Batangas, stakeholders of the tourism of the province, business owners, students, and advocates of local and national tourism gathered in the pavilion of LIMA Park Hotel in one momentous event dubbed as the 1st Batangas Province Tourism Conference. The event was spearheaded by the Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office in cooperation with the Batangas Tourism Officers Association (BATOA).
With the theme, “Empowering Tourism for Shared Economic Growth”, the gathering would not be a conference without talks from noteworthy resource speakers.
First speaker was Mr. Bienvenido Claravall, University of the Philippines Diliman and Asian Institute of Tourism faculty member and author of the book “Travel Management and Tour Operations in the Philippines”, who talked about Tourism Appreciation. Claravall focused on the appreciation of tourism industry and how it is manifested by dissecting on tourism as a whole, different perspectives of people looking at the industry of tourism (visitors, businessmen, government, and the community), the crimes and social conflict tourism brings in a certain area, and the pros of having a good tourism industry.
Some of Claravall’s notable lines were: “No matter how good your facilities are, if the service is weak, you’ll have a weak product.”; “The real Tourism Appreciation is when you have a reflective culture of tourism.”
Second speaker, award-winning broadcaster and journalist Ms. Thelma Dumpit-Murillo, shared valuable insights on Tourism Marketing and Branding and Public and Media Relations. In her talk, she highlighted Destination Branding, which is combining all attributes associated with a place. Furthermore, Murillo also emphasized the importance of knowing who you are and what you have in order to know what you can give. And from her discussion, I jotted down this thought she imparted: “You cannot be all things to all people.”
Ms. Ricamela S. Palis, Director of the Culture and Arts Department of Colegio de San Juan de Letran – Calamba, conferred the third conference topic which was Festival Management. She opened the discussion with an energizer for the crowd then segued to introducing what a festival is and the many categories of it.
Palis mentioned that the availability of local resources contribute in how a town or city sustain the existence of their particular festival. She also noted that tourism thrives on culture and each festival conveys a story. This story branches out to things to be considered in planning and materializing a festival – what story should be conveyed, to whom the story should be told, and how it should be told.
Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) Deputy Administrator for Planning, Atty. Nicasio A. Conti, discussed the significant connection between the tourism and transportation industries in his topic, Transportation Management. Atty. Conti stressed on how the connectivity of transportation on land, air, and sea can be instrumental in developing further the tourism of the province and the country in general.
Going further into the day is Tony Reyes, Marketing Manager of STAR Tollway Corporation, who talked about Strengthening of Public-Private Partnership. Reyes compared tourism trends in the recent decades and the evolution of the public’s preferences in choosing a destination to go to.
He made one striking suggestion on how we could boost Batangas tourism – compete where we can compete. Frequency of a tourist’s visit to Batangas is one, drawing in permanent tourists (people who acquire properties in the province) is another.
The last topic in the conference was about Solid Waste Management and its link to the tourism industry as discussed by Laudemir S. Salac, OIC DENR – CENRO, Batangas City. The rush of tourists coming in to the province affects the local environment with all the solid wastes created and left behind in the community. The LGU play a key role in maintaining their locality an attractive tourist destination by keeping it clutter-free.
We guess all of you would agree that our beloved Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto is a tourist attraction herself. You’ve probably heard how people from even the farthest places in the country travel all the way to Batangas for their Lakbay Aral and to take photos with our Governor.
In her speech, Gov. Vi suggested that all cities and municipalities of Batangas should have their own tourism programs to make the tourism efforts of the province simpler. Furthermore, the Governor reminded everyone that tourism is part of her HEARTS program and that her passion for boosting Batangas tourism will always be there.
On the other hand, Vice Governor Mark Leviste mentioned that “beautiful Batangas” is not just a slogan. Being a known advocate of the local tourism, Vice Gov. Leviste emphasized on the accessibility of Batangas and the industriousness of the Batangueño family as contributing factors to our province being a premiere attraction and world-class tourist destination.
This is one remarkable event for the promotion and fortification of Batangas tourism. May this open more doors of opportunity for the industry that makes Batangas one of the most well-rounded tourist destinations in the Philippines. And as we always say, IT’S ALL HERE, IT’S SO NEAR!