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PIA Press Release

Tourism director cites 2-day Ormoc workshop as timely

By Bong Pedalino

Sabin Resort Hotel, Ormoc City (13 November) -- A top tourism official in Region 8 has described as timely the conduct of a two-day investment and tourism workshop held here November 10 and 11 which would serve as a roadmap for Southern Leyte province in promoting a healthy and vibrant tourism atmosphere.

Karina Tiopes, the Regional Director of the Department of Tourism (DOT), said that in the light of the super-regions program of President Arroyo which focused on tourism, the holding of the Ormoc workshop on the subject was a "right direction" even as she advised that the output of the activity "should not remain as a plan."

"Southern Leyte is actually headed for the right direction. This planning workshop is very timely – actually it should have been long before -- nonetheless, this is timely considering that the focus of the Central Philippines which we are a part of was on tourism," Tiopes told PIA in an interview when sought for her assessment.

The workshop was sponsored by GTZ, a German organization, and was attended by some Mayors, tourism and development planning officers, the media, Coral Cay, a British NGO, an investor, including Gov. Rosette Lerias, some Provincial Board Members, and Tourism Director Tiopes herself.

During the workshop proper after the talks the participants were grouped by clusters using the existing Inter-Area Development (IAD) groupings of the province, wherein they identified flagship destination in their respective area, key events, products to offer, and other tourism-related activities that can encourage arrival of transient visitors.

"I hope after this that this will not remain as a plan. I hope that in the next six months something will really happen. Let’s keep the fire burning. We should not forget what we sought to do in the next six months," Tiopes said.

She added that once the product has been specified the next challenge is to package it in such a way that it would be saleable to the right market.

The choice of the proper market would also be critical, Tiopes added.

"We just cannot market to everybody. Not everybody goes diving, snorkeling, or do trekking and all. So we have to find out which market is looking for these types of tourism activities, so we have to match," advised Tiopes.

The time element for doing such activities must also be considered.

Tiopes suggested having an annual tourism calendar covering all four IADs of the province so every month some excitement can be offered as a highlight to visitors, either domestic or foreign. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]

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