Baguio City, Philippines— As internet trends, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and robotics continue to change the landscape of the global tourism industry, the Department of Tourism (DOT) remains optimistic that the Filipino brand of service will keep our country’s human resources afloat on the cusp of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR).
“Tourism is bigger than artificial intelligence. Tourism is bigger than robotics. The quest for quality is something that only human beings could give,” DOT Undersecretary for Tourism Regulation, Coordination and Resource Generation (TRCRG) Arturo Boncato, Jr. stressed in his keynote on “Tourism and the 4th Industrial Revolution: The Future of Jobs,” the theme of the 5th Tourism Human Resource Congress organized by the Tourism Industry Board Foundation Inc. (TIBFI) in partnership with the DOT at The Manor at Camp John Hay – CAP Convention Center in Baguio City.
“Quality tourism is the key in bringing tourists in the country. It’s all about the human heart. Tourism is all about experience and relationships,” Undersecretary Boncato, Jr. added.
DOT Assistant Secretary for TRCRG Maria Rica Bueno emphasized the significance of “personal touch points” not only in the hospitality sector, but in the tourism industry as a whole.
“This is the inspiration why we remain committed in promoting and educating our frontliners on the Filipino brand of service,” she said during her presentation on the Updates on the Training Initiatives and the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) for Tourism Professionals.
Conversely, while human resource is without a doubt irreplaceable, industry leaders still agree that artificial intelligence can boost tourism products and services.
“What we really need to do is to upscale our workforce so that artificial intelligence, machine learning will all complement us. Remember that even data managers are human, so we are still in control as we put in the information in these machines,” FELTA Multi-Media Inc. President and CEO Mylene Abiva stressed as she presented the Philippine Basic Education in The 4th Industrial Revolution.
Meanwhile, Bienvenido Travel and Tours Managing Director Ramon Marinas sat along with other panel speakers to discuss the Response to Future Employment Challenges in the 4th Industrial Revolution. “Instead of competing with technology, partner with it, collaborate with it. Strive to look at the good things, strive for partnership instead of competition. Even with the advent of 4IR, always provide love and tender loving care because this is something that robots can’t do. Always personalize to achieve great customer and guest experience,” he said.
In partnership with tourism training organizations like TIBFI, the DOT and other agencies concerned continue to lead initiatives in upholding the quality of tourism human resource. These include holding of regular conferences and seminars for tourism personnel; upgrading of curriculum, quality of teachers and graduates; implementing the ASEAN MRA for Tourism Professionals; updating employment legislation and improving labor relations; teaching of tourism and hospitality courses under the K-12 program; and implementing DOT’s On-the-Job and Teacher Immersion for the benefit of students and teachers under the tourism and hospitality courses—.a worthy head start on investing in the future workforce for a more competitive and socially sustainable tourism development.
This is in line with the Strategic Action Programs cited in the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2016-2022, the country’s tourism roadmap. These industry-wide initiatives aim to enhance human resource capacity, improve service standards and promote initiatives in safeguarding quality standards.
The 6th Tourism Human Resource Congress is set to occur in 2021.