Friday, February 27, 2015

DOT’s Tourism Star Philippines Award Honors Contributors in Tourism Industry

Getting to know and honoring the champions of today’s drivers of Philippine tourism is the main thrust of Tourism Star Philippines award. It is the Department of Tourism’s program to recognize Filipinos who have significantly made an impact in sharing valuable information or program in sharing the Philippines tourism industry. The program sought out individuals in the tourism industry, media, and local government units to underscore the distinct Filipino brand of warm hospitality that marks our culture of tourism.

A few weeks ago the Department of Tourism (DOT) rolled out its very first roster of Tourism Stars which include Gerry Bie Dalimag and Bobby Adrao for the Individual Category; Drew Arellano of Biyahe ni Drew in GMA-7 and Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet for the Media Category; and Governor Joey Salceda for the Local Chief Executive (LCE) Category. The late Ms. Susan Calo-Medina, host of Travel Time, was also recognized being the pioneer advocate of Philippines Tourism. She’s well known for her tag line “Huwag maging dayuhan sa sariling bayan” (don’t be foreigners of your own country). It was a night of cheers and awards.

Here are some of the brief descriptions about the awardees and how they came to be champions of local tourism.

  • Gerry Bie Dalimag is a college student who serves as a local volunteer guide around the famous Callo Caves in Cagayan. At a very young age, he has helped in boosting the province’s local tourism by taking his guiding responsibilities to heart, which earned him the respect and commendation from various people and even the media.
  • Bobby Adrao is another awardee in the Individual Category, he is a licensed Butanding interaction officer and a dive master in Donsol, Sorsogon. In addition to advocating safe and environment-friendly diving practices, Adrao represents a Filipino tourism frontliner who goes beyond the call of duty to save the lives of an Australian couple who went adrift in the rough seas while diving due to inclement weather.
  • Drew Arellano, a popular celebrity that makes a headlines with his TV show called Biyahe ni Drew, which features fun travel adventures in different Philippines destination every week. Known for his quirky and entertaining brand of hosting, Arellano successfully embodies the “It’s more fun in the Philippines” concept.
  • Anton Diaz is just like us, a blogger, who embraces the world with his blog Our Awesome Planet (www. and of course a top lifestyle blogger that showcases the best of food and travel destinations in the Philippines in his blog. Founded in 2005, it has generated thousands of followers and readers that are able to share his experiences and discoveries in various places in the country.
  • Governor Joey Salceda of Albay receives the award in the LCE Category. He led the Albay region’s phenomenal growth in tourism as it rose from the ruins of disasters that stunted the province for decades. As former economic adviser to previous presidents, Governor Salceda has successfully implemented a comprehensive tourism work program in Albay, bringing to the fore various regulations and investment projects to achieve significant tourism development.
  • Susan Calo-Medina, who just recently met our Creator was awarded. I remembered that she’s the host of the known TV Travel show “Travel Time”. She’s even clearly remembered with her parting words from her show “Huwag maging dayuhan sa sariling bayan”.

 The Tourism Star Philippines is anchored on DOT’s tourism campaign “It’s more fun in the Philippines”, the award also marks a significant milestone as it is part of the full implementation of the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP ) that leverages the partnership of local and private sector in order to improve competitiveness of tourism facilities and services, capacitate local government units, ensure sustainable tourism development and initiate focused marketing and promotions.

The selection of the awardees underwent a rigorous selection among the nominees which was received from February to June 2014. The committee looked for individuals who demonstrated the strongest and deepest commitment in promoting the country’s tourism in their own ways. For the individual Category, nominations were received through the program website and through drop boxes located at domestic airport terminals nationwide. Meanwhile, Local Tourism Councils nominated their mayors or governors for the LCE Category by submitting the completely filled out nomination form with the documentary requirements to concerned DOT Regional Offices. Nominations for the Media Category, which was added two months after the launch, were solicited from Tourism and Travel Associations nationwide.
Final evaluation was conducted after the screening, lead by TSP Screening Committee composed of representatives from the DOT’s Office of the Undersecretary for Tourism Regulation, Coordination, and Resource Generation (TRCRG) and Office of Tourism Standards and Regulation (OTSR), as well as the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), one of the program’s institutional partners. Al submitted documentary requirements were validated through the help of the DOT Regional Offices and the local tourism offices. For the LCE Category, documents were rated using the following criteria : Institutional, promotions, planning and product development, regulatory, investments, and centerpiece projects with additional points in consideration of their support to DOT advocacies. Media nominees, on the other hand, were chosen based on the votes they received through online voting, content and substance and relevance of work to the Philippine tourism industry; impact and significant contribution to the It’s More Fun in the Philippines campaign; creativity and uniqueness of shows/ articles and information presented.
Tourism Stars Philippines’ Awardees received trophies and medals, as well as gifts from program partners like pre-loaded More Fun Prepaid card from the Bank of the Philippine Island (BPI), scholarship from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), phones and tablets from MyPhone, and a kabuhayan package from Duty Free Philippines (DFP).

DOT Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr., made a statement saying, “The Philippine tourism is undoubtedly the fastest growing industry in the country, taking on a significant role in our economy. We believe that we owe this tremendous growth to our people. Without them, our destinations would only be a mere landscape. It is our people that give these beautiful destinations life and meaning. And the Tourism Star Program honors these individuals who truly make it more fun in the Philippines.

Program : Tourism Stars Philippines Award
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Twitter : @DOTPhilippines

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