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MAKATI CITY—The Department of Tourism (DOT) will be capacitating tourism officers nationwide under the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) with Sustainable Tourism Development Trainings designed and run by the Asian Institute of Management. This, as a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed between DOT and ATOP on Thursday (Feb. 15) at the DOT Central Office.

DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco, together with ATOP National President Ms. Junel Ann Divinagracia, signed the agreement.

The training program, a pioneering partnership between the DOT and the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) – Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism, is a capacity-building initiative designed for tourism officers from various local government units (LGUs), integrating sustainability principles and practices into tourism policymaking, planning, management, and product development.

“Through the signing of this memorandum of agreement, we will be able to further concretize the commitment of the Marcos administration to equalize tourism development and promotions across the country,” Secretary Frasco stated during her remarks at the MOA signing.

“However, we cannot even begin to approach this gargantuan task without further capacitating those who see and know the actual situation on the ground – our tourism officers, who are charged with the knowledge of their specific destinations and can be potent partners in implementing, not only theoretically but practically, the principles of sustainability that govern our National Tourism Development Plan,” she continued.

The Sustaining Tourism Development Training (STDT) is a crucial step towards capacitating tourism destination managers to implement sustainable development plans, aligning with the vision of the NTDP 2023-2028. It also reaffirms the DOT’s commitment to international policies and frameworks, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the ASEAN Framework on Sustainable Tourism, the UN Tourism’s Environment, Social and Governance Framework, and the Statistical Framework for Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism.

The STDT, designed as a two-part program, will commence with Part 1: a one-month self-paced online course culminating in a two-day onsite session scheduled for April 17 to 18, 2024, at AIM. This phase targets tourism officers, DOT Regional Offices, and Central Office representatives, with the main outcome to be incorporated into the development of program, activity, and project proposals aligned with the NTDP targets.

Part 2, a four-day onsite program designed for DOT Executives and Management Committee, Regional Directors, and Central Office representatives, will follow at a later agreed upon date at AIM. This phase will focus on refining the proposals from Part 1 to ensure integration, feasibility, and alignment with sustainable development.

“The only way that you can really assure that sustainability principles are implemented on the ground is if you seek the experience and knowledge of the people on the ground – our tourism officers – and partner them with the (DOT) Central Office, and our academe,” said the tourism chief on the partnership.

As part of DOT’s commitment, it shall provide capacity-building training at AIM for qualified tourism officers and offer technical support in the conduct of a forum. Meanwhile, ATOP shall encourage the completion of the program, ensure the submission of program, activity, and project proposals, and conduct a forum with the participating ATOP members.

“By integrating sustainability and tourism development as a theoretical and practical priority, we will ensure the long-term viability of the economic livelihood and employment opportunities provided by your tourism destinations,” enthused Secretary Frasco.

The MOA signing was witnessed by AIM OIC-Executive Director John Paolo Rivera, Research Manager Eylla Laire Gutierrez, ATOP NCR Representative Charlie Duñgo, Region 3 Representative Mr. Eliseo S. Dela Cruz, Region 4A Representative Edwin B. Guinto, Region 8 Representative Nelson Alindogan, as well as DOT officials, including Undersecretary Ferdinand Jumapao, and OIC-Assistant Secretary Warner Andrada.


Published:February 19, 2024

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