The City Tourism Office (CTO) is advising local businesses dealing with non-English speaking Koreans and Chinese tourists to start learning their languages to better market products and services and communicate laws they must strictly follow to avoid violations.
City tourism chief Aileen Cynthia Amurao said Sunday that skills in their languages are invaluable when communicating with them about products and travel services being promoted and sold and rules and regulations they should obey while in Puerto Princesa.
She said South Korea’s low-cost airline Eastar Jet will have its regular chartered flights soon from the Incheon International Airport (IIA) and the city’s tourism sector still have enough time to prepare to learn how to speak its language’s basics.
“Local businesses need to adjust somehow in dealing with the majority of Koreans who are non-English speakers. They still have time to prepare so they can engage with the Koreans. Our products need to have Korean translations,” Amurao said.
She said based on the initial details that reached her, Eastar Jet is preparing its chartered flights again, which would bring an estimated 10,000 Koreans to Puerto Princesa City and Palawan via the international airport.
Amurao said Eastar Jet’s is experimenting the market in the city and if it sells, chartered flights will continue.
“Ang pagkakaintindi ko, around 10,000 ‘yan ang target na guests nila. Ang sabi sa akin parang sold out na. Kasi experimental ‘yan, eh. Halos lahat ng international flights kapag bumenta, tuloy-tuloy na parang ganoon,” she stated.
She said all food products sold in souvenir shops and other stores should already have Korean and Chinese language translations so their citizens know what they are buying.
There are now mobile apps, Amurao pointed out, that can help translate Filipino product details to Korean and Chinese.
“Dapat lang ‘yong mga products may translation na kasi non-English speaking foreigners ‘yan so dapat translated lahat para naiintindihan nila ‘yong kung ano ba ‘yong mga produkto na ino-offer natin. Kapag wala noon, mahihirapan sila,” she pointed out.
Amurao said eventually their will be signages in Korean and Chinese to make it easier for them to understand road signs, local laws and regulations, business names, and others.
She said the only problem is learning the Chinese language because though it is widely spoken, it is challenging due to its writing system and tonal nature.
However, she said she has already communicated with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to help open short courses on Korean and Chinese languages to encourage the tourism sector to enroll, particularly those in the frontlines of the industry.
“Ang sabi ko nga dapat mag-aral na sila ng basic Korean language kung gusto nila na mag-engage talaga. Na-coordinate ko na din ‘yan sa TESDA. Pinabuksan na natin ‘yan sa TESDA both Chinese… Mandarin… and Korean. Ang iba ang alam nila sa tour guiding services lang kailangan ‘yan, ay hindi po. ‘Yong mga salespersons natin, restaurants, mga frontliners… pati nga mga tricycle drivers pinapaaral ko na ng basic to show that they can relate… para di maloko ‘yong Koreans ganoon din na hindi rin sila maloko,” she said.
Amurao said they are also mulling the establishment of a seafood market for the Koreans because a lot of them are looking for it in the city.
She said they are eyeing a site for this in Barangay Tagburos where Korean tourists who love seafood can go and have the freshest catch from the fishing community.
“Namamalengke ang mga Koreans kasi they’re traveling with families and they’re looking for seafood. Sa Korea uso ang seafood so makikita mo kahit maliliit na mga bata dala-dala nila galing sa palengke ang mga pinamili. Ang hinahanap ng Korean market is the seafood kaya itong Tagburos tinitignan ko ngayon kung pupuwedeng i-develop din natin siya as a seafood market,” she added.
Amurao said vendors who sell outside the highway may be removed also to prevent endangering their lives.
Nothing is concrete yet about this, she explained, as they are still studying the possibility.