Under the theme: “ Tourism and Community Development - focusing on the ability of tourism to empower people and provide them with skills to achieve change in their local communities,” Department of Tourism Region 12 (DOT) has laid series of activities for the different areas in the region to participate with, and promote the tourism spirit all over the region.

This is because DOT, together with the rest of the world, celebrates the month of September as the International tourism month as decided by the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The activities include Convocation Program at Lambayong Sultan Kudarat last September 1; this was followed by School Based Tourism Week Seminar in Midsayap; Workshop on provincial museum last September 16 to 18 and the Eco guide trainings at Kidapawan City; DOT has also partnered with the local government of Ezperanza and invited ABS-CBN to cover the municipality’s hot spring resorts and former “choose Philippines” programs; and a Tourism Caravan Familiarization was also conducted in General Santos City last September 16 to 16.

Meanwhile, other activities to follow are business matching in several provinces, Photo exhibits, Familiarization Tours, Tourism Products and Services Competition, History and Cultural Seminar, and the Regional Tourism Quiz Bowl contest.

According to the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) “tourism has experienced continued growth and deeper diversification to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. ‎Modern tourism is closely linked to development and includes more new destinations for tourists. These dynamics turned tourism into a key driver for socio-‎economic progress.‎ Tourism has become one of the major players in ‎international commerce, and represents at the same time one of the main income ‎sources for many developing countries.”

DOT 12 Regional Director Nelly Nita Dillera, has always been very vocal about making tourism as a serious business, the efforts of the regional office continues to elevate the tourism mentality of the locales especially on revealing new tourism products may it be destinations, culture, dances, or food.
In her recent visit to the grass root areas of the region, her challenge to the natives were preservation, enrichment, and reliving of the distinct and colorful tribes of SOCCKSARGEN.

“We are so aligned with the theme… we often think that when it comes to tourism we immediately incorporate it only with hotels, beautiful destinations… but now our focus is the involvement of the community, the community becomes beneficiaries to these tourism activities that we are doing.”

“We are preparing the community for them to be participants of the developments that we are doing to the barangays… another is we want to make them feel that whatever tourism asset they have in their communities be it natural or cultural, they should be involve, in terms of not just economic but also through protection and preservation of these destinations,” she added.

These tribes has long been taking care of the natural resources found only in the 12th paradise, now that DOT has slowly been reaching out to them, these resources has become destinations being known to locales, and foreigners.

This in fact is community development at work, DOT 12 has brought the first International Paragliding Accuracy Championship to the region and has presented to the international tourists nothing but the best of the local tourism products, and this perspective is also what the department wants the localities to learn. (DOT NEWS)

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