Bukidnon needs to work on its tourism industry – Biz chamber

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News.Net/12 June) “Bukidnon (tourism) is not just Dahilayan. Many come for our natural tourist attractions,” Maite Abellanosa of the Bukidnon Kaamulan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. said.

Abellanosa, who chairs the chamber’s tourism cluster, told the Strictly Business News Conference Wednesday that Bukidnon has the tourist destinations but there is a need to work for it with destination management.

“We need value chain in (local) tourism. We must be able to link stakeholders,” she said.

Bukidnon already has all the ingredients to boost its own tourism industry “but all of these stakeholders are not linked in a value chain.”

She said the tourism sector must know how to connect their part with the other stakeholders of the tourism sector.
She also cited that there is a need to develop areas to make it better tourist destinations, then help market these destinations. She cited that the chamber has a tourism promotion program beyond the Kaamulan and the Centennial celebration.

She said Bukidnon’s top come on are “nature” and “adventure” tours although she cited that the province can do very good in attracting tourists interested in “culture” and “agriculture.”
She said local tourism can be developed in all those four aspects.

“Any type of tourists we can accommodate. We have that but that’s not developed,” she added.

But she cited that tourism now is already interactive and in longer limited to “sight-seeing.”

She cited that from destination management, there is a need to train tour guides.

Abellanosa, who said she is one of the pioneers of cultural guides in the province, cited that education on how to link is one of the key obstacles.

She cited her recent tie up with Bukidnon State University for the training of an initial number of cultural guides on Bukidnon to help prepare the province for cultural tourism. She said the training will be applied to select students who have “Bukidnon culture” course undergoing internships. She cited that the initial batch will include five students each from the social science and the hotel- restaurant and management departments of BSU.

Abellanosa said she will link with tour operators so the trained students will be hired as cultural guides.

“Right now, there are only two government-accredited tour guides in the province. Most are from Cagayan de Oro and other areas who know nothing about Bukidnon,” she added.

The chamber, she said, intends to support culture tourism in the province citing, for example the music and arts of Waway Saway and his group of Talaandig artists.

“That’s our top global product from Bukidnon. What’s good about it is that among similar groups they are the ones who excel. They take efforts to polish their craft,” she said.

She noted, however, that Waway’s group is not getting much support locally especially in the Bukidnon Centennial celebration.

Roberto Tinsay, the chamber’s vice president for membership, cited that tourism should be emphasized in pursuing development because it is “one the best drivers of growth”.

He cited the need to link the chamber’s efforts on tourism with the social entrepreneurship movement initiated in the province by the Central Mindanao University, which hosted the 1st Mindanao Social Business Summit from June 4 to 6. CMU officials were in the news conference to update the press on the outcomes of the summit.

“There is a need for different sectors like the local government units, to help each other and the opportunities are already around,” Tinsay added. CMU is putting up its Mt. Kalayo Institute for Social Enterprise Growth (MKISEG).

He cited that Bukidnon stakeholders were unable to avail of capacity-building packages from the Department of Tourism is the lack of trainers, for example on cultural tourism.

Chamber officials cited that the initial training of BSU students on Bukidnon culture is a start of the enabling measures to develop tourism in Bukidnon. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News.Net)