DOT chief highlights Philippines’ tourism education approach at World Travel Market

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
DOT chief highlights Philippines� tourism education approach at World Travel Market
In this Nov. 6, 2023 photo, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco attends the World Travel Market Minister’s Summit in London.
DOT, TPB / Released

MANILA, Philippines — Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco is leading the Philippine delegation at the highly regarded World Travel Market Minister’s Summit being held in London, United Kingdom.

On Monday, Frasco joined global tourism leaders and ministers and discussed the role of education in transforming the world’s tourism industry.

Tourism education

Frasco underscored the Philippines’ approach toward tourism education and how the department is prioritizing it in its local tourism blueprint, citing that the government wants to deliver “quality tourism education” to its asset, the Filipino people.

“Our Philippine government has applied a trifocal approach towards tourism education from basic education to technical vocational to higher education, as the Marcos administration envisions the Philippines to be the center for excellence in terms of tourism training [programs],” she said.

“We also apply a convergence approach towards tourism education, wherein we are in constant coordination with the private sector by way of our Tourism Industry Board Foundation, a composite of organizations from the entire tourism value chain that continues to collaborate with government in order to ensure that the needs of the industry are matched with the curriculum that's provided by the schools,” Frasco added.

The tourism chief cited that the DOT is working with the country’s education institutions to narrow the gap in addressing the mismatch between industry requirements for manpower, work readiness of the graduates of tourism and hospitality programs and make sure they will land employment opportunities suited for their courses.

The DOT has so far partnered with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), through membership in the CHED Technical Panel for Tourism and Hospitality Programs, to provide inputs during review and updating of the curricula on tourism and hospitality courses. The department also participate in the holding of the Tourism Human Resource Congress every two years to update the industry and the academe on new trends and industry challenges.

The agency cited that it has prepared a five-year Philippine Tourism Human Capital Development Plan (2021- 2025) “to identify challenges and outline strategies to develop and harness world-class Filipino tourism professionals.”

Aside from these initiatives, the DOT offers a Tourism Industry Skills Program which provides free regular training sessions to tourism both for formal and informal workers to retool, upskill, and equip them with new knowledge and skills to be globally-competitive.

The training sessions are delivered to tourism workforce in various sector as well as community-based tourism organizations such as boatmen, souvenir vendors, massage therapists, taxi drivers, tourist police, among others.

Education tourism

Speaking before the panel, Frasco also gave a spotlight to the Philippines as a destination shaping up education tourism, citing that the country educates not just Filipinos but also foreign professionals. She cited that the country is the fifth global provider for English as a Second Language (ESL) to international source markets such as South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand and some emerging markets like Vietnam, Mongolia and Russia.

“And so, we feel that by investing in education both by way of training as well as in education tourism, we would be able to position the Philippines towards our president's vision of transforming it into Asia's tourism powerhouse,” Frasco said.

The Philippine delegation to WTM, led by Frasco, is assisted by Tourism Promotions Board Chief Operating Officer Margarita Montemayor Nograles. They are also joined by some 20 private sector tourism stakeholders.

Aside from tourism education, the delegation is also expected to forge connections between Philippine tourism product sellers and international buyers, build interest in hosting international events in the country and further promote Philippine tourist destinations.

Philippines on spotlight

The country is also showcasing a Philippine Pavilion that features Filipino hospitality and talent with master weavers, mixologists, baristas to impress visitors.

Its design blends natural materials with Solihiya, a traditional Filipino pattern representing unity, strength and resilience, mirroring the spirit of the Filipino people. It also features bamboo bikes used when touring the Intramuros complex.

Visitors of the booth may also wear traditional Filipiniana and Barong Tagalog.

Frasco said the Philippines’ participation at the WTF will promote the country as a global destination with diverse offerings.

"This global exposure also helps us attract more investors that can enhance our portfolio of tourism gems and further President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s goal to position the country as a tourism powerhouse in Asia,” she said.

According to DOT, WTM gathers thousands of tourism professionals including leaders from across the globe such as executives of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). They convene to deliberate on tourism policy, strategy, development, and investment.

In 2022, WTM welcomed more than 35,000 tourism professionals from 184 countries. This year, it is expected to draw 20% more new exhibitors from different parts of the world, including high-profile participants from the UK.

The event that opened November 6, is being staged until November 8 at the ExCel Convention Centre in London, UK.

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