With Palawan’s tourism industry facing dual threats of power interruptions and terrorism, it needs “proactive planning” to counter them, an expert said Tuesday.
Henry Teodoro Hernia, security and business continuity manager at Fluor Philippines and speaker from the Department of Tourism (DOT), said controlling the two crises rather than merely responding to them will help the province improve its tourism industry and the involved sector.
“Dapat mayroong pro-active planning, we are not reactive. We have to plan ahead, come up with concepts on how to avoid these crises or risks that may happen. If we cannot avoid those things, at least we might be able to mitigate the impacts,” he pointed out.
Hernia spoke before participants to the recent Tourism Crisis Management Symposium organized by the DoT.
Hernia said terrorism is a factor that is considered not only by the tourists but by the investors because security is important in the tourism industry.
“Dito sa (Here in) Palawan, I think power [is one of the crisis] and as far as I know there have been incidents of kidnapping. Palawan has a lot of beautiful places, but you have to ensure the security and safety of everyone. What if investors find out that this province doesn’t have a security plan, then they will have a second thought to invest,” he said.
Aside from the two “major crises,” the crisis management symposium also talked on how the tourism sector should respond to calamities such as storm surges, floods, typhoons and other natural and human-induced disasters.
Shiela Marie Reyes of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) MIMAROPA officer Sheila Marie Reyes said Palawan’s tourism sector should also learn how to respond to fires, armed conflicts, and the threat of terrorism.
“Kaya ang tourism sector dapat alam nila kung paano mag-responde sa mga calamities. Pagdating naman sa mga armed conflicts, dapat kung mayroon suspicious activities or tao dapat i-report kaagad since sila ang frontliners. Dapat mayroon at patuloy ang kanilang mga trainings (The tourism sector should know when or how to respond to calamities. When it comes to armed conflicts, if there are suspicious activities, they should help report immediately since they are frontliners. Training on these should continue),” Reyes said.
The participants agreed that the tourism industry “helps in the economic development of the province and many families that depend on it.”
Bombing Gutierrez, project coordinator of the event, said it is necessary that tourism stakeholders should be trained on crisis management since they are the first to engage the visitors.
“Ang laki ng contribution ng tourism sa ating ekonomiya kaya lang there are many things na pwedeng ma-disrupt ang ating turismo kaya dapat handa (Tourism has a large contribution to the economy but sometimes, there will be events where tourism will be disrupted and they need to be prepared),” he said.
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