Getting out of the office and into another location is surely welcome but having to wake up at 230am to get to the seminar venue at 9am? This is insanely burdensome for a person like me who hates the early morning grind. But I just did that to attend the Department of Tourism – Region 7’s Progressive Accreditation System – ASEAN Standards seminar in Cebu City, and it was well worth it!
Not wanting to stay overnight ahead of the seminar, I forced myself out of bed during the wee hours on Tuesday last week, got myself into the shower, and broke myself out of somnolence as the rush of cold water hit my system.
I was with Councilor Ana Linda Esparcia who chairs the Committee on Tourism and my Mayor Gino dela Cruz as we took the first Maayo Shipping barge out of Tampi to Samboan. The early morning trip from Samboan was a breeze and afforded us some time to grab some good eats along the way. The speedy drive was slowly interrupted by a traffic buildup that started in Carcar City and went all the way to the City of Talisay. The morning rush hour and slight vertigo I was experiencing were marring an otherwise beautiful day, but we eventually made our way to Parklane International Hotel.
We were just in time for the program to start, barely enough to say hi and hello, exchange pleasantries among friends and colleagues in the industry, and settled into our seats as the first speaker began her lecture on Progressive Accreditation System. The lecture piqued my interest as this would have repercussions on the local tourism industry in Amlan. The whole day seminar brought some new takes on accreditation, and with my excitement to learn more of the process itself, I spent a good deal of my time taking down notes and making some comments as the lecture moved along.
Setting standards in the Philippine tourism industry is not a new dimension. The industry embraced the concept of quality and competency a long time ago back in the 70s when tourism businesses went through the process of licensing. In response to maintaining and sustaining a competitive Philippine tourism industry in the 21st century, the Department of Tourism has intensified its effort in having tourism service providers undergo a progressive accreditation system designed to encourage the latter in having their business transformed through accreditation.
There are as many different levels of accreditation as there are different establishments that make up, say the accommodations industry. Yet, the procedures and guidelines are simplified, criteria and accreditation requirements are straightforward, and incentives are attractive so tourism businesses are encouraged to be accredited.
With the ASEAN integration, the regional tourism industry is levelling up its principle of service excellence by setting standards across the whole industry, in green hotels, homestays, spa services to name a few. With progressive accreditation, it is hoped that service standards are improved, guests get a fair exchange of their money spent, tourism products and services get reinvented to a higher quality, and the whole ASEAN tourism industry remain competitive.