DOT chief joins high-level UNWTO Global Education Forum as panelist

SAMARKAND, Uzbekistan—Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco underscored the critical role of the Department in bridging the academe and the industry toward championing tourism education in the Philippines, going beyond its mandate to promote the country as a destination to the world.

The tourism chief shared this as she was invited to join the panel representing the Philippines for the first time in the Global Education Forum, a high-level ministerial discourse on policies to foster innovation and education for current and future generations held on the sidelines of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) 25th General Assembly, Thursday (Oct. 19), in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

“The importance of education in tourism in the Philippines cannot be overemphasized, especially since we recognize that the Filipino tourism worker is the best asset of Philippine tourism,” the tourism chief began, speaking before a thousand of audiences from over a hundred countries joining the global forum.

She continued by emphasizing how tourism education became key in employing millions of Filipinos in the Philippines whose livelihoods were dependent on the industry.

“Tourism in the Philippines employs over 5.35 million Filipinos accounting for over 11.4 percent of our entire national employment and therefore, the focus of our government has been to ensure that at every level of education– from basic education, technical vocational as well as higher education, there are interventions that would ensure quality tourism education,” she said.

“The Philippine government is governed by the Philippine Tourism Human Capital Development Plan which lays down the strategy of convergence among government agencies to ensure that the approach towards tourism education is not only theoretical but also practical. And the role of the Department of Tourism has been to be the bridge between the academe and the industry,” she explained, noting that the country’s approach to tourism education is in a trifocal approach, through the concerted efforts of the Philippine Department of Education (DepEd), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

“What the DOT does is to bridge all of these departments with the Tourism Industry Board Foundation, which is a composite of various associations in the entire tourism value chain composed of tour operators, travel agencies, hotel owners and operators, even restauranteurs and the like, so that the curriculum of every level of tourism education continues to be updated to correspond to global trends and continues to apply the concept of innovation especially in response to the changing needs of the consumer,” the tourism chief said.

“Therefore, it has been through this convergence approach to education in collaboration with both the academe as well as the industry, with the Department of Tourism serving as a bridge for these institutions that has led to Philippine tourism being fueled by the excellent Filipino hospitality that our country is known for all over the world,” she added.

The high-level Global Education Forum highlighted the vital connection between education and tourism development, which also showcased the current state of education in the tourism sector, emphasizing the importance of investing in skills development and creating inclusive opportunities for all.

Joining Secretary Frasco in the panel were His Excellency Mr. Jordi Torres Falco, Minister of Tourism and Industry of Andorra; Dr. Nasser Ali Qaedi, Chief Executive Officer of Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority; Her Excellency Ms. Anayansy Rodriguez, Minister of Tourism of Guatemala; and His Excellency Mr. Rodney Sikumba, Cabinet Minister of Tourism and Arts of the Republic of Zambia.

The panel was moderated by Juan Jose Guemes, Chairman of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center and Vice President of Economic Affairs of IE University.

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