AS THE inoculation of the COVID-19 vaccine has started to roll-out in various parts of Davao Region, industries, such as travel and tours, are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
To keep stakeholders abreast on how to manage tours in the new normal, the Department of Tourism Xl, in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Provincial Government of Davao Oriental, initiated the Naturalist Eco Guiding Training from May 20 to 27.
As Davao Region is blessed with various eco-tourism sites, with Mt Hamiguitan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the region’s most treasured jewel, DOT found it most apt to train frontliners in eco-tour guiding.
The seven-day training, a melding of Zoom lectures and actual activity for the mock tour guiding at Mt Hamiguitan World Heritage Park in San Isidro, Davao Oriental, was able to attract participants from various government agencies, local government units, as well as tour guides and operators.
“This will equip our eco-guides the adequate knowledge and skills to interpret the natural attributes of our region and be able to impart them to their visitors through compelling storytelling,” said DOT Xl regional director Tanya Rabat Tan.
The said training gave participants valuable insights toward being a technical guide for specific nature-based activities, such as trekking, birdwatching, and the like. It also enlightened them that this type of tourism is delicate and fragile, and demands sustainable management.
Resource persons in the recently comcluded training include Philippine Eagle Foundation Inc director of research and conservation Jayson C. Ibanez, Davao Oriental provincial tourism officer Miguel Trocio, Birding Philippines’ Adrian Constantino, and DOT-Accredited Trainer and ASEAN Master Trainer Dr. Reynaldo Jorda.
“This training will support the circuits that we’re developing for the provinces,” shared Tan during the activity’s closing ceremonies.
During the program, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources officer Alberto N. Bandiola also showed appreciation for the participants’ commitment, citing it as a “manifestation of collaborative initiatives” where “tourism and conservation meets halfway”.
“Our eco-guides are our partners not just in promoting sites but also in educating our guests about our existing laws on the protection of our environment,” Bandiola said.
Davao Oriental vice governor Nino Sotero L. Uy underscored the importance of increasing public awareness and enhancing the economic benefits of conserving our world-class tourism sites.
“Ecotourism will not only bring local prestige and pride but also alternative source of earnings,” Uy shared, as he read the message of Davao Oriental Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang.
Director Tan added the need to future-proof the stakeholders in the industry especially during these challenging times.
“We have seen opportunities even during this pandemic. There a lot of new outdoor offerings around the region that perfectly suits the new normal. We just have to enrich ourselves with the necessary information, and to think out of the box, while equally giving importance to safety and security of your visitors as well as yourselves, ” said Tan.
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