GenSan taps transport sector to be ‘tourism frontliners’

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/21 June) – In a bid to boost the city’s tourism promotion and development initiatives, the city government has adopted the area’s transport operators and drivers as “tourism frontliners.”

Meriam Buguis, City Economic Management and Cooperative Development Office (CEMCDO) chief, said the move mainly aims to involve local transport providers in promoting the city’s tourist attractions and related programs to tourists or visitors coming into the city.

“They play a vital role in our tourism promotion since they’re the first ones who engage with tourists or visitors the moment they arrive in the city,” she said.

As part of the initiative, she said the local government has lined up a series of orientation seminars on tourism promotion for the city’s transport operators, drivers and related service providers.

On Wednesday, Buguis said they launched an orientation seminar for drivers and operators of taxi units operating in the area.

She said the activity included sessions on proper practices that taxi drivers should adopt in dealing with their customers as well as some measures that would help improve their service delivery.

Buguis said they also made them aware of the city’s basic history, local attractions, tourism programs and services that they may share with their customers.

“We want them to understand that they’re one of the tourism products that we provide and it’s not just limited to our hotels, restaurants and resorts,” she said.

Taxi operations in the city have remained limited these past years due to lack of patrons and they are only utilized for long routes, like the city airport to downtown area route.

Several taxi units also serve limited routes to the Makar port here, public transport terminals, shopping malls, hotels and resorts.

City Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio said the city government will also launch orientation seminars in the coming weeks for local operators and drivers of tricycles and jeepneys as well as other local stakeholders.

“Tourism promotion should not only be our concern but it should involve all sectors,” she said.

The tourism orientation seminar series was launched by the city government as part of the 10th Yaman GenSan or Business Month celebration, which formally opened on Wednesday.

Yaman GenSan, which stands for Yabong…Maliliit na Negosyo sa GenSan, was launched in 2003 as homage to the thriving local micro, small and medium enterprises or MSMEs, which constitute 99 percent of the city’s businesses.

The month-long celebration, which is held every third week of June until the third week of July, was aimed to spur economic activities during the period, which is considered as “lean months” business-wise.

The activities include trade fairs, skills/techno trainings and seminars as well as business and investment conferences and forums. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)