by Irma A. Guhit
SORSOGON CITY (PIA) – “Tourism has never been this good in the province of Sorsogon. Donsol has indeed opened a very wide avenue for our province. The whaleshark interaction activity in Donsol is a phenomenon. That as we have seen, Donsol, from a fourth class local government unit has zoomed into a first class municipality in terms of its economy, now it is globally known as one of the best eco-tourism destinations.”, Cris Racelis, the newly appointed Provincial Tourism Officer, designate, explained during the tree-day Conference on Community Based Rural Tourism (CCBRT) held at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center, Subic Bay Freeport last January 12-14, 2011.
“It is too heartwarming that during the three-day CCBRT activity, I was given the chance to present the tourism destinations of our province. I have also interfaced with almost all of the tourism personalities from several countries whose prime economic come on is tourism. I have listened to all the experts on tourism development, have known the current tourism trends, the prevailing issues, challenges and opportunities. I was awed by the different tourism destinations of the different countries shown through video presentation but also felt proud that Sorsogon province and the video document I have presented was well received and appreciated,” Racelis beamingly explained.
The three-day conference was conducted by the Department of Tourism (DOT) attended by six hundred forty nine (649) participants composed of tourism officers, elected officials, government department heads, academe, private sectors and civil society organizations, where thirty nine (39 participants are from the Bicol region and three (3) from Sorsogon – Cristina J. Racelis, Manro Jayco of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and management Council (PDRRMC) and Philip Bartilet, president of Aggrupation of Advocates for Environment Protection (AGAP) Bulusan, Inc.
DOT Secretary Alberto Lim served as the keynote speaker expounding on the topic: “The Role of DOT in Developing Rural Tourism”.
In the conference, Mr. Joselito Bernardo, the director of Agriculture Department of APO Japan, presented the Framework for the Development of Community-Based Rural Tourism and Successful Models of CBRT in Asia. Mr. Rajenda Narsingh Suwal from Nepal shared on the Sustainable Development and Management of Natural Resource Endowments in Rural Areas for Recreational and Adventure Tourism.
“My being the Provincial Tourism Officer Designate now is a very challenging role that I accept wholeheartedly and I hope to do my bestaccording to what is expected of me. Governor Raul R. Lee, in our dialog after I presented to him the excerpts from the three-day conference I attended has instructed me to submit the one-year development plan for our province and series of consultations will be done as he has commissioned tourism consultants and experts who will conduct research, help the province lay-out the provincial tourism master plan to include marketing and advertisement. In our initial talks, Gov. Lee expressed that tourism will be his banner program this 2011 and onwards,” Racelis further explained.
“I am sending several personnel to attend meetings, conferences and undergo capability enhancement on tourism development. In fact, we have now the Sorsogon Ecotourism Code that will serve as our guide in our province. Sharing our attractions, destinations and focusing on Community-Based Rural Tourism will provide our people in the grassroots communities an awareness to take pride on what nature has provided them and see it as a marketable potential for livelihood. In fact, I have produced through “Himig Kapitolyo”, our local singing group composed of employees from the provincial government, singing selected songs from pop, ballad and love songs with video clips of the different tourism destinations of every municipality. This will be distributed on waiting areas in airports, seaports and other places where tourists can view what we offer. After all, Sorsogon is still unexplored. To tourists, this is our best offer, a well-spring of natural resource,” Gov. Lee stressed. (PIA Sorsogon)
Original article can be found here.