DOT accredits 13 deaf tour guides
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - December 7, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) continues its push for barrier-free tourism as it accredited at least 13 deaf tour guides.

In a statement, the DOT said the first assignment of the newly-accredited tour guides was to shepherd 30 students from the Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) to Manila’s historical spots, including Rizal Park, National Museum and Fort Santiago.

The program was initiated by the Office of Industry Manpower Development (DOT-OIMD) in partnership with the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB).

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the program seeks to give training for deaf individuals to become tour guides for deaf visitors.

“Having tour guides skilled with knowledge of sign language and an understanding of the services needed by persons with disabilities (PWDs) is a must under the DOT’s thrust for barrier-free tourism,” Puyat said.

“Not only will this provide quality service to tourists with special needs, but more importantly, this will create opportunities, which are the very essence of an inclusive tourism industry,” she added.

Puyat said the DOT is geared towards conducting more similar training programs.

“We’re working with the National Council on Disability Affairs. We’re identifying areas where there is a notable number of population of deaf and mute,” she said.

Earlier this year, the DOT initiated an inter-agency consultation to address the facilities and infrastructure lacking in the country’s tourism establishments.

One of the identified challenges is the small number of service providers who have the skills to communicate with local and foreign tourists who are deaf.

At present, only 27 deaf tour guides have passed the rigorous training.

“There are existing institutions like the DLS-CSB that have programs like this for tourism and tour guides. We are partnering with them so that these community training programs will be implemented not only in Metro Manila but also in other regions,” OIMD director Nelly Dillera said.

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