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Isabela City prepares tourism sector for new normal

ISABELA CITY, Basilan, Aug 16 (PIA) – The city government of Isabela de Basilan continuously undertakes impressive actions to restore and reactivate its tourism sector after being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020.

Recently, more than 500 beneficiaries from the tourism sector received their start-up kits which will help them to be more productive and effective in the new normal.

The said beneficiaries are those who participated in the series of trainings as part of the Tourism Short Courses As Opportunities for People Empowerment (TSCOPE). The TSCOPE is a series of training that aims to empower local tourism stakeholders as part of tourism recovery, which are funded by the Department of Tourism - Region IX and are given to the Local Government Unit of Isabela de Basilan. This will enable tourism sector to provide better services to all guests and visitors in the city.

The Isabela City de Basilan tourism sector who participated in the training are the 400 bangkeros, 150 workers in restaurants and eateries, 100 workers in hotels and resorts, 200 habal-habal drivers and 100 tour guides.

The bangkeros  were given Water, Search and Rescue (WASAR), including First Aid and Safety Training in four (4) batches. This is to ensure their safety and of their respective passengers.  They also received life ring, water rescue rope, safety kit and life vest. 

Meanwhile, restaurant and eatery workers were trained on Food Preparations for Tourists which focused mainly on safety and will advance techniques to better food preparations and presentations for tourists and guests. They also received sets of kitchen utensils. The kits were given by establishments. The Marang-marang women and other organization also received gasulet.

In addition, a total of 100 hotel and resorts workers were also trained on hospitality to provide them the knowledge and skills level necessary to perform their job with the utmost professionalism in sustaining quality customer service. They were also provided with tote bag and safety kit.

Moreover, Isabela City tourist champions like the habal-habal drivers, multicab drivers and tricycle drivers were trained on Safety and Road Etiquette to enhance their awareness on road safety and courtesy. The habal-habal drivers received helmet and t-shirt while  multicab and tricycle drivers received tumbler and tshirt.

The tour guides also attended training on Tour Guides in the New Normal and Trends  which aims to advance the importance of tour guiding in advancing stories and narratives of the community and the respective tourist attractions and sites. The training also focused on the sun and sand package of Isabela City. Each of the Isabela City tour guides received safety kit, dry bag and tumbler while tour guides from other municipalities were also provided with bag organizer and safety kit.

During the turn-over ceremony of start-up kits and paraphernalia, Mayor  Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman expressed her utmost appreciation to the Department of Tourism for all the support it has extended to Isabela de Basilan's tourism programs and highlighted how tourism can improve grassroot economy.

“I am very thankful to the DOT for this TSCOPE for funding this project, pinundohan po nila ng Php4,450,000 for series of trainings for our tourism industry stakeholders. This is the first in Isabela City,” Mayor Turabin-Hataman said.

Furthermore, RD Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez, Regional Director DOT-IX also assured that the Department of Tourism will always rally its support to Isabela City since they have seen the developments of its tourism industry.  She also lauded the efforts of the local government unit under the administration of Mayor Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman and the City Tourism Office lead by City Tourism Officer Claudio Ramos in developing measures to build more resilient tourism  economy after being affected by the pandemic.

“I am a witness to the city’s growth and we will always be here to support the City Government of Isabela de Basilan. From 2019 hanggang ngayon ibang-iba na ang Isabela de Basilan. Congratulations po sa ating lahat,” RD Rodriquez stressed.

The T-SCOPE grant for product and capacity building for service excellence has a total cost of PhP 4,450,000.00 divided into two phases/ tranches (Phase 1 for Product Development and Phase 2 for Capacity Building through Learning Series).  Beneficiaries are different tourism stakeholders like the bangkeros, tricycle and habal-habal drivers, tour guides, women’s group, managers of accommodation establishments and kitchen staff.

The Program is in line with the Department's thrust in 2020 and 2021 to strengthen Domestic Tourism Products and Building Capacity of Tourism Workers in preparing product readiness, viability and service quality.

Isabela is the only city who submitted and is the lone recipient of this project in the whole of the Zamboanga Peninsula region. This grant is from the DOT’s Office of Product and Market Development thru then Director Renee Reyes and Undersecretary Verna Buensuceso. (RVC/EDT/NDR/PIA Basilan)

About the Author

Nilda Delos Reyes

Information Officer II

Region 9

Currently the Information Center Manager of Basilan Infocenter

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