Gov. Migs urges tourism officers: Saturate natural market
by Joy Sevilla
General Santos City (October 7) -- Sarangani Governor Migs Dominguez has urged members of the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) to "saturate on natural markets" for tourism does not only mean foreign market.
Dominguez, who was one of the guest speakers during the recently-concluded 10th ATOP National Convention (October 1-4) held at Family Country Hotel and Convention Center, also encouraged tourism officers nationwide to make initiatives on how to stimulate people to invest and risk their money for local tourism.
"The main bread and butter of our tourism is the natural market. We just have to create a perfect mix for investors to come in, we (in the government) are accountable and responsible for the development of our respective areas," the governor said before 600 delegates of the convention.
Dominguez also said tourism development does not only depend on the must-visit places of an area, but also on the hospitality of people who "extend open arms" to visitors.
"The biggest asset of Filipinos is our culture. It is the hospitality of people that really matters, it is how we welcome visitors with open arms," he said.
While the image of Mindanao is still an issue to both national and international markets, Dominguez persuaded the participants to be ambassadors of Mindanao.
"Please help us in becoming our ambassadors of Mindanao. Mindanao has its own assets, but Mindanao is bombarded with negative news," he said. The governor added media too has a big role in reflecting good image to the island by making more good news.
Dominguez, on the other hand, shared the best practices of Sarangani in developing the province's tourism sector.
"I tell my private sector to provide opportunities for people to become entrepreneurs through providing proper setting to do business, and we in the government can provide basic infrastructure like road, water, electricity, and even security," he asserted.
He stressed that tourism development can be sustainable if the local government is also serious in inspiring the private sector to come in and be assisted in every way.
The 10th ATOP National Convention was participated in by all regions nationwide including the CARAGA and NCR Regions, but except the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Last year, Iloilo City hosted the gathering of tourism aficionados from all over the country.
The ATOP had gone to other areas in the country such as Dumaguete, Palawan, Negros Occidental, Surigao, South Cotabato, and Camarines Sur for their national conferences.
The convention is usually attended by tourism officers, chairs of the committee on tourism and chief executives of the local government units. (PIO Sarangani/PIA SarGen) [top]