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Surfing eyed as major tourism product

Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - August 5, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Surfing may soon become a major tourism product of the Philippines with the help of the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) drive to promote the activity by improving facilities and capacitating surfing coaches in the country.

The DOT said it is implementing two programs to develop surfing into a major activity which will attract more tourists to visit the country’s surfing hotspots.

The first program calls for the classification and accreditation of surfing camps, resorts and other facilities that offer surfing lessons to clients.

To be accredited, such camps will be required to have the essential teaching equipment and gear such as soft training surfboards and rash guards, and facilities like lockers, toilets and showers.

“Very important, they must have emergency rescue and crisis response capabilities, including first aid kits and communications equipment for handling urgent conditions,” the DOT added.

The accreditation also requires the camps to hire certified surfing instructors.

The DOT said it has already crafted a national criteria for the certification and classification of surf training facilities. The criteria will soon be subjected to public consultation.

Another component of the DOT’s product development program is upgrading the skills of local coaches for them to be at par with internationally certified professional surfing instructors.

“This program aims to professionalize the local surf industry and provide more job opportunities to the coastal and surfing communities,” the DOT said.

Under this component, instructors will be required to undergo an intensive Surfing Instructors Certification course.

JC Jan Cueto, assistant project officer, said the cost of the training will be covered by the DOT.

Cueto said 78 instructors from provinces such as Siargao, Catanduanes, Sorsogon and Davao Oriental have already received training, while 60 more from Baler, Aurora, La Union, Samar and Pilar, Siargao are in the pipeline.

The DOT said it has partnered with Australia’s Academy of Surfing Instructors (ASI) and its local chapter, the Academy of Surfing Instructors Philippines (ASIP) for the initiative.

ASI is the world’s leading professional education, certification and accreditation standard for surfing. ASIP’s role is to execute all ASI functions, such as conducting instructor certification courses in the Philippines under strict ASI supervision.

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