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Lanao del Norte hosts 1st ATOP Mindanao-Island Cluster confab

Lanao del Norte Governor Khalid Dimaporo welcomes the tourism officers participating in the 1st ATOP Mindanao-Island Cluster Meeting held at MCC Hotel, in capital town Tubod.

TUBOD, Lanao del Norte, August 28 (PIA) – Some 45 members of the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) participated in the First ATOP Mindanao-Island Cluster Meeting hosted by the Province of Lanao del Norte on August 24-26, 2015.

Minda Regis, Provincial Tourism Officer of Lanao del Norte, and the current ATOP vice president for Mindanao said six regions in Mindanao were represented. Tourism officers from as far as Basilan, Dinagat Island, Regions 9, 10, 11, 12, Caraga and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) were the participants of said meeting.

“We’re so elated that representatives from the National Commission on the Culture and Arts (NCCA) visited us and shared their technical assistance on the preservation of arts and culture in our area”, said Regis.

Meanwhile, Alphonsus Dalisay-Tesoro of Capiz, ATOP National President, said this is a first in the history of ATOP. The cluster meeting is an initiative of the association to improve further the participation of stakeholders.

‘Holding the cluster meeting here in Lanao del Norte is the first to happen, because we usually meet with national officers only, but this time, we wanted to have the event participated by our stakeholders and tourism officers at the local level,’ said Tesoro.

We opted to have this two quarters per island cluster–for Visayas and Luzon, and Lanao del Norte as the host of the Mindanao-Island cluster, held here at Mindanao Civic Center Hotel, explained Tesoro.

On the first day, a Tourism Awareness Forum was conducted with stakeholders from Misamis Occidental and Lanao del Norte. ATOP members who flew in via Ozamiz airport directly proceeded to Sinacaban, Misamis Occidental for a meeting with hotel and restaurants owners.  Afterwards, the group then to proceeded to Tubod, Lanao del Norte for a sectoral workshop with TESDA students, public utility and van operators to make them aware of their role as guide to local tourist destinations. The group also met with local hotel and restaurant association, interacting with different stakeholders to threshout fresh ideas to boost tourism.

Tesoro revealed that they intend to institutionalize ATOP, giving recognition not only to LGUs for the best responsible tourism campaign, but also create a community-based tourism category. Other categories considered are heritage conservation, environmental and participation of the community.
According to Tesoro, tourism initiatives should take a holistic approach involving the community, not just by the LGU alone, and tapping the NCCA in case of art and heritage preservation.

The tourism initiatives of the Lanao del Norte LGU led by Governor Khalid Dimaporo is critical in making the province an emerging tourist destination in Mindanao. The provincial government has successfully captured the interest of tourists through its annual participation of the Sinulog Festival in Cebu City. This is one effective way of promoting Lanao del Norte, affirmed Tesoro.
“We really appreciate this hosting of the province, this meeting will pave the way to hearing  the concerns of the region”, expressed Tesoro.

Topic on “The Importance of Cultural Mapping in Tourism Planning” was presented by ATOP President Tesoro, while “Tourism Mindanao Updates” was reported by DOT-Region 10 Catalino Chan lll and ARMM DOT Regional Secretary Marites Maguindra.

ATOP National Convention Updates was shared by ATOP Regional Representative Maria Felisa C. Marquez of Region Xl.

The three-day event was concluded with a Governor’s Night, were all participants wore blue following the theme “A Night of Blue Party”.  (LVG/PIA-10 LDN)

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