Davao is improving its tour guide services to attract more visitors, create more jobs, and put the province on the map as a global travel destination.
“Davao is considered one of safest cities globally, with some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, best seafood, and amazing eco-tourism attractions,” said GeneRose Tecson, president of The Guide Union for Inbound Destination and Ecotourism (GUIDE), Inc. “Tour guides are recognized as important ambassadors, and by providing them with world-class training, we hope to take a big step towards making Davao one of the region’s most desirable cities for tourists.”
To upgrade the quality of its services, GUIDE Davao recently concluded a series of training program on tour guiding services using the tourism skills grant from the Department of Tourism (DOT). Funded by the Government of Canada and administered by Asian Development Bank (ADB) under the Philippines Improving Competitiveness in Tourism (PICTourism) program, it was designed to support the government’s effort to achieve inclusive growth and create employment opportunities in tourism.
“More than providing financial assistance to support professional skills training, the grant will usher in jobs and opportunities for growth for young Davaoeños,” Tecson said. “Using what we learned from the training, we seek to expand training and mentoring to junior tour guides in various cities and municipalities in the Davao region and help develop a new breed of tourism industry workers.”
Tecson said that while members of their group are licensed and accredited by the DOT and have received previous trainings, they seek to benefit from more relevant training courses to achieve world-class status. With the help of the skills grant, they conducted workshops on personality development, quality in
communications, security awareness, train the trainers, and professional tour guiding.
For the personality development, quality in communications, and train the trainers, the group enlisted the services of Davao-based Joji Ilagan Career Center Foundation, Inc. Meanwhile, to improve their skills on tour guiding techniques, the group was trained by U.S.-based multilingual tour manager and tourist guide trainer Maricar Donato.
As a result of the trainings, GUIDE Davao generated more awareness on their group, increasing its membership by up to almost 50 percent. With the help of DOT-ADB-Canada grant, GUIDE Davao hopes to improve its services and training programs to align with the standards of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Tourism as well as the newly-implemented standards of the DOT.
GUIDE Davao also hopes to become a key driving force in making their province known more globally, with tour guides as Davao’s fifth icon. Davao is best known for its Durian fruit, the Waling Orchid, Mount Apo and the Philippine Eagle.
While I was fortunate to tick off Japan, Taiwan and South Korea to my list of go-to places. There are still many wonders of the Philippines that I have yet to see. This includes Bohol, Sagada and Davao. Davao, for one, is considered one of the safest province in the Philippines, with its economy also recognized as one of the fastest growing.
Davao holds a wealth of wonders that I have yet to discover. Who wouldn’t want to see Mt. Apo upclose? Or experience the flurry of colors and the festivities of the Kadayawan Festival?
This recent program surely enhances the touring experience by lending a credible and efficient experience to first-time visitors to Davao. While I seldom join tours (because I prefer exploring things on my own), there are instances when having an insider with you, or someone that has more in-depth knowledge of the place, culture and history, is sure to enhance the experience further. This is something I learned when I signed up for a tour for the Secret Garden of Changdukgung Palace in Korea last November. Without the guide, the palace were nothing but a magnificent fortification. The expert opinion, amazing story telling of history and the direction of an experienced tour guide made all the difference.
Who knows? This might be the opportunity to know the history behind some of Davao’s most famous landmarks. This commendable effort by the local tourism office, the city, the private sector and GUIDE Davao will surely open a lot of opportunities: not only for the tour guides, but also for travelers like me off to brand new adventures.