Rey Anthony Chiu
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, February 24, 2012 (PIA) – Wanting always to go right in its sustainable eco-cultural tourism destination dream, Bohol gets every help it can get, this time, from an international assistance group.
The German Technical Cooperation or Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) lends to Bohol the technical expertise of Nanda Ritsma, a Dutch national who has been assisting eco-tourism projects in Netherlands and in Bhutan where she worked for the tourism value chain in the Himalayas in the last six years, said Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Provincial Director Maria Elena Arbon.
At the tourism core group meeting held at the DTI Conference Hall Thursday, Director Arbon presented Ritsma to the core group members who gathered to review the outputs of the earlier tourism strategic planning workshops.
Ritsma is the latest foreign worker lending her technical assistance following a help the provincial tourism program got from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) through couple David and Fiona Aaron.
The Aarons worked with PROCESS, a Non Government Organization largely involved in implementing AusAID projects on community development and eco-tourism.
At the meeting attended by tourism, government and business sector representatives, Ritsma, who admitted she still has to immerse herself in the communities here, said she is excited especially when she finds a new kind of sectoral partnership which may be different from her past experiences.
During the meeting also, representatives sifted through the tourism strategic planning workshop outputs and pegged its next steps to advance Bohol eco-tourism industry into its dream of a sustainable industry that works out for the improvement of the people’s lives but also retaining the communities’ cultural identity.
For starters, everyone in the core group agreed that the province needs a massive Information Education and Communication program which should center on the new National Tourism Law and the Access Law (Republic Act 9442).
According to the group, IEC would also delve into the issues on Culture of Tourism, Environment Conservation, National Tourism Law and the National Tourism Development Program, Culture and Heritage Preservation, Product Development for Local Government Units and Eco-tourism.
Also, with a little more than 3,000 rooms available for Bohol and faced with an ever increasing tourist arrivals, stretching stay average, the lack issue of rooms surfaced as a sore issue the core group first tackled from the workshop outputs.
Next steps, according to the group include Training Needs Assessment (TNA) for front office, housekeeping, kitchen staff and stakeholders interested in a home-stay program in Bohol.
Aside from these, also tackled were future eco-tourism directions in Culture and Heritage tourism as well as Sports and Recreation tourism, emerging new products for Bohol. (30)