‘The Big 5’ launch moved to Sept.

By Morexette B. Erram, Rosalie Abatayo August 10,2017

THE launching of the Big 5 eco-tourism campaign of the Cebu Provincial Tourism Office (PTO) has been moved from August to September.

Joselito “Boboi” Costas, PTO head, said they decided to move the launch schedule to next month to complete the needed training of 40 tour guides.

“We will not launch the Big 5 until the community is ready,” Costas said.

The tour guides, whom the tourism office considered the frontliners for their eco-tourism and community-based campaign, have yet to undergo basic life support and first aid training in September.

The Big 5 is the collective title of the five towns of southern Cebu whose respective communities were identified to be potential eco-tourism spots.

These can be found in Aloguinsan, Alegria, Alcoy, Argao and Boljoon.

The PTO set the stage for the scheduled August launching with the posting of a 1:48 minute video of The Big 5 on Facebook last June, which garnered more than 47,000 views and 1,000 shares and reactions.

The campaign aims to promote sustainable tourism which will involve conservation of traditional culture, historical relics, and the environment and which will serve as the livelihood of the local community.

Aside from tour guides, other personalities such as forest wardens, housekeepers, historical experts, and cooks formed part as the group needed for the implementation of The Big 5.

However, he said they had already completed the accommodation services needed to complement the tourism campaign, tying local tourism offices to its counterpart in the province as well as coordinating with law enforcement agencies.

But the tour guides have to complete their training first.

He said that it is necessary for the tour guides to complete these trainings before they can be deployed in their designated areas to implement the campaign.

The tour guides have already completed three of the four seminar-trainings -product development, food and beverage hygiene, and tour guiding and interpretation.

They have yet to undergo the basic life support and life saving training, which can equip them with skills to ensure the safety of the guests visiting the towns.

“All of these are laid out for our personnel to standardize the quality of services rendered to our tourists. They have to undergo all of them to ensure they are well-oriented and equipped with all the skills needed,” added Costas.

For their promotion of the campaign, he said that they are tapping online market and trade fairs to widen their reach and perhaps a share of some potential markets.

Aside from regularly posting updates and helpful information about the campaign on their website and on their official Facebook page, the PTO also advertised The Big 5 in some of the largest exhibition and trade fairs both in the country and in the world such as the National Tourism Rollout Development Program and the International Tourism Convention.

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