Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo said tour guides and other members of the travel and tourism sector must be able to “tell the story of their destinations,” sharing more personal stories about its people rather than just facts about the place.
The DOT head was speaking at the 8th National Tour Guides Convention and General Assembly held at Hotel Jen in Manila on Monday (June 12). The gathering was attended by travel and tour stakeholder representatives from both public and private sectors, including delegates from the Southeast Asia Tourist Guides Association and 350 members of the Philippine Federation of National Tour Guides from all over the country.
Teo urged the participants, “Go beyond the usual training on customer service. Tour guide training should be able to empower all of you on how to tell the story of your destinations. You know your destinations better and these stories must come from you. Take ownership of these stories.”
Besides sharing facts about the destinations, she also encouraged tour guides to further engage travelers by sharing inspiring anecdotes about the place and its people.
“If our guests and visitors find the stories interesting and inspiring, they will stay longer, contribute to the local economy more and see the Philippines differently,” added Teo.
The DOT chief said that she has also given instructions to the Regional Offices of the DOT to devote funding for the continuous training of tour guides all over the country and allocate the necessary resources to ensure such is done as soon as possible.
The DOT has earmarked a total budget of PhP1.2 M for its three-pronged training program for tour guides which covers the regional tour-guiding course, continuing education, and community guiding seminar.
As of February, the tourism office has a total of 49 applicants from the National Capital Region (NCR) for the regional tour-guiding course, 16 of whom took the course and eight are in the waiting list for the second run.
The DOT expects the numbers to increase as compared to 2016, which only saw a total of 44 newly accredited tour guides, 20 of whom were from the NCR and 22 from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).