Tourism players’ cooperation to help RP comply Asean tourism pact

September 30, 2009 9:13 pm 

CEBU CITY, Oct. 1 – A sustained collaboration among the academe, private sector in the tourism industry and the government will help the Philippines comply with an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) pact on tourism in a few years, a tourism industry executive said.

Robert Lim Joseph, founder of Tourism Educators and Movers (Team) Philippines, said the tourism industry in the country is already in place.

”It is a matter of addressing the gaps between what the academe provides and what industry practitioners need. We can comply with the requirements of the Asean agreement on tourism in two to three years if the collaboration among concerned parties remains,” he said.

Joseph referred to the 2011-2015 Strategic Plan of Asean Tourism which aims to promote tourism cooperation among its member countries, and to the Mutual Recognition Agreement on tourism, which is expected to facilitate the movement of skilled labor in the Asean region.

Joseph, also consul general of the Republic of Latvia to the Philippines, raised the need for the country to standardize its tourism services by 2015 to comply with Asean’s strategic plan on tourism.

”If one is a teacher with an accreditation based on Asean’s standards, he can teach anywhere in the Asean region,” he told reporters over the weekend at the 2nd League of Tourism Students of the Philippines (LTSP) Convention at Cebu Grand Convention Center in Cebu City.

Team Philippines is doing its share of upgrading tourism services to an international level through organization of training seminars for educators and students.

These seminars on topics such as values, communication, tourism culture, marketing and events organizing will also supplement the country’s current curriculum on tourism education, said Joseph.

Team Philippines also distributed to students 450 copies of Convention and Exhibition Manual, the first series of manuals that Team Philippines will print with the aim of developing the necessary skills needed by the industry.

LTSP, which Joseph helped create, is also planning to hold events to upgrade the skills of teachers, whom LTSP president Xander Kim Sigua identified as crucial in the production of competent tourism graduates.

Since it was conceptualized three years ago, LTSP now has 50 chapters nationwide, at least 11 of which are in Cebu.

LTSP aims to organize by next year chapters in 100 schools out of the more than 140 colleges and universities offering tourism-related courses nationwide.

”Tourism is among the largest industries in the country. It has high demand for employment. One of every nine Filipinos in the country is working directly or indirectly in the tourism industry,” Sigua said.

”We want to condition our students on tourism being a driver in the country’s economy and help prepare them since they will eventually become part of the tourism industry,” he said. (PNA) LDV/EB/re

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