The country’s booming tourism industry took center stage once again as the Association of Tourism Officers in the Philippines (ATOP) feted the top tourism events and personalities in the DOT-ATOP Pearl Awards as part of its recent 17th National Convention at the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga.
A collaboration between the Department of Tourism, the Tourism Promotions Board, and ATOP, the national group of local tourism officers, the prestigious award seeks to encourage excellence in promoting the culture of tourism in provincial, city and municipal levels.
Awarded Best Tourism Events for Sports, Adventure and Wellness were La Union Surfing Break of La Union, the 16th National Scout Jamboree of Tagum City, Davao del Norte, and the Dolphin Watching and Bird Watching of Pulupandan, Negros Occidental.
In the Festival Category, Panaad Festival of Negros Occidental, Ibong Dayo of Balanga City and the “Kneeling Carabao Festival” of Pulilan, Bulacan, garnered top honors.
Negros Occidental, Sagay City (Negros Occidental) and Mogpog, Marinduque were named for the Best Tourism Month/Week Celebrations.
The Province of Negros Occidental, the City of Tagum, and the Municipality of Palompon (Leyte), emerged as the Best Tourism-Oriented Local Government Units.
Voted as Best Tourism Campaigns were the Cave Conservation Program of Compostela Valley, and Kamustahang Turismo sa mga Barangay of Tabuk City (Kalinga). Moreover, Angeles City and Silay City (Negros Occidental) were cited for their heritage conservation projects, which have preserved historic ancestral structures.
Palina Greenbelt Ecopark of Roxas City (Capiz) received a citation for Best Practices in Community-Based Responsible Tourism.
Named Most Outstanding Tourism Officers were Irene Magallon of Sta. Barbara (Iloilo), Arlene Ethel Odiem of Tabuk City, and Gilbert Marin Iloilo Province, while Iloilo Tourism Officers Association (ITOA) was cited Most Outstanding Tourism Officers Organization.
ATOP National President Alphonsus Tesoro said the three-day meet bore the theme “Tourism for All: Promoting Universal Accessibility” based on the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s thrust of providing accessibility for all to tourist facilities, products, and opportunities especially to persons with disability (PWDs).
By BERNARD L. SUPETRAN