Equip students for Asean integration — tourism experts
WITH a more dynamic regional economy because of the Asean integration, a group of tourism stakeholders in the country are seeing the need to equip the next generation of tourism and hospitality students in the Philippines with the necessary knowledge, skills and attitude to upgrade their competencies and stand ready for cutthroat competition.
“We cannot just wait for these students to experience on-the-job trainings in restaurants and hotels to know how these tourism establishments work.
They need to know what’s going on in the industry that they will join full time (after college graduation) while they are still in school because many of them are employed for the first time and they get culture shocked,” said Celso “Toots” Jimenez Jr., who organizes events and serves as public relations consultant to tourism companies.
Jimenez and Cebu-based WML Advertising and Events Management are putting together the first National Tourism and Hospitality Congress next month which will bring together at least 1,000 students from different colleges and universities from all over the country for a day of discussion, insight-sharing and networking with tourism practitioners.
Jimenez said the congress, which is sanctioned by the Commission on Higher Education, is held to support the Department of Tourism.
Jimenez said industry practitioners would deliver talks on the Filipino brand of service, culinary as a medium for tourism attraction, sports tourism and opportunities in the cruise industry, among others.
He said the Filipino brand of service would need to be emphasized to the millennial generation to make them understand that the Filipinos’ hospitality and warmth had set us apart from other nationalities.
In the culinary field, Jimenez said there is a need to utilize food as a medium to promote culture and heritage.
“When you go to Cebu, you know you will have the best lechon. The city or province that we go to has a culinary identify. Even an establishment has a signature dish. The students need to know this because they are already the ambassadors of our country even before they graduate from their universities,” he said.
Ma. Lorena Arroyo, WML executive director, said the congress was organized with Mindanao-based students in mind as they do not have regular opportunities to participate in tourism-related events and conferences which will help them update and upgrade their skills.
Daffodil Esgana, WML executive marketing officer, said they also would hope to encourage the students who would prefer to work abroad immediately after they graduate to master their craft first in the country.
“If you want to go abroad, you have to make sure that you are prepared because you are also carrying the Philippine brand. Sharpen and master your skills before going out to serve the international market,” she said.
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