Gov Salceda leads awardees of DOT's Tourism Stars PH
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Tourism (DOT) introduced the very first Tourism Star Philippines this year. The award aims to recognize individuals who have raised the bar in promoting Philippine tourism in their own ways.
Individuals from different fields such as the tourism industry, media, and even local government units were awarded last February 12.
Governor Joey Salceda was awarded under the Local Chief Executive category for his internationally recognized efforts in the growth of Albay's tourism.
Despite being battered by numerous typhoons annually, Salceda was able to maximize the potential of the natural resources and landscape of his province using a comprehensive tourism work plan, including the Albay-Masbate-Sorsogon (ALMASOR) Tourism Alliance.
A climate justice and sustainable development advocate himself, Governor Salceda is staunch supporter of investing in nature and culture. (READ: No more self-pity: Salceda suggests 5 steps to rebuilding)
“It is about shifting to investment-based tourism. Encouraging people to invest in developing natural landscapes and local cultures,” he said. “Ang daming magagawa eh. Talagang ginamit ko ang lahat ng opportunity na binigay ng DOT para ma-advertise yung Albay.”
(A lot can be done. I used all the opportunities the DOT offered me to advertise Albay.)
According to him, the private sector can also play a more active role in developing sustainable tourism establishments.
Biggest driving factors
The youth is perhaps one of the biggest driving factors of the Philippine tourism industry today. Aside from being travellers, they now take on the roles of innovative social entrepreneurs, operators and knowledgeable guides.
Gerry Bie “Andoy” Dalimag grew up helping the local tourism industry of Cagayan. He serves as an inspiration for the youth and the passion that goes with helping yourself and your country.
Despite his modest upbringing, Dalimag continues to serve as a volunteer guide around the famous Callao Caves simply working on tips as a means for allowance as he pursues a Tourism degree in college.
Famous for his show on GMA 7 “Biyahe ni Drew,” TV Host Drew Arellano was recognized for his exhilarating adventures around the Philippines.
Known for his wacky yet personable demeanor, he has grown a fanbase that awaits his weekly experiences that highlight various hotspots around the country, thus fuelling a tourism spirit for the country.
Meanwhile, for those who traverse multiple travel blogs to learn about their next Philippine adventure, Our Awesome Planet is a familiar destination blog on their browsers if not already bookmarked.
Food and travel blogger Anton Diaz was awarded for his pioneering efforts in Philippine tourism blogging.
After almost a decade of blogging about his travels around the country, he has earned the recognition as the top independent lifestyle blog that celebrates the best travel destinations in the Philippines and around the world.
Passion for conservation
Evident among all the awardees is a sense of passion for their efforts in promoting Philippine tourism and it could not have been better said by Bobby Adrao.
Fuelled by a determination to maintain the pristine Donsol, Sorsogon marine environment, Adrao’s work with the world-renowned Donsol Whale Sharks has earned him a spot on the list of Tourism Stars.
His unwavering dedication to preserve these natural wonders resulted to a heightened awareness among communities regarding the importance of the marine inhabitants.
“Kailangan mo lang tutukan ang iyong trabaho at maging matiyaga sa ginagawa mo,” he emphasized. “Kailangan talagang bigyang halaga ang dagat, ang kayamanan ng kalikasan at mga taong nag-proprotekta nito katulad ng mga dive masters at komunidad.”
(You just need to really focus on your work and be determined in everything you do. It is necessary to value the ocean, natural resources and the people who protect them like dive masters and communities.)
With Tourism Star Awards, DOT hopes to strengthen the efforts of individuals and institutions that pave way for a more tourism-friendly country. It seeks to inspire other people to further grow their travelling spirit. - Rappler.com
Marianna Vargas is a Rappler intern and is currently pursuing a Masters in International Relations in the University of New South Wales.