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Unraveling this Tourism Body

Not too many people in the tourism industry know about the Tourism Industry Board Foundation Inc., now popularly known as the Tourism Board. Some know about its existence but can’t really go into details as to what the group is all about.

In June of 1980, as a response to our country’s hotel and restaurant industry’s need for qualified manpower to run our various tourism enterprises, the National Manpower and Youth Council (NMYC) established the Hotel and Restaurant Industry Board or HRIB.  This non-stock, non-profit technical foundation was a tripartite body with representatives from the labor, private, and government sectors.

Through the years, our country’s tourism industry grew by leaps and bounds, and so did the need to have more world-class human resource, to keep up with those employed by our global competitors.  So, in 1991, the Board of Trustees of HRIB agreed to expand the coverage of this august body and give it its current name and used the trademark of professional education, training, research, and development institutions in responding to the workforce requirements of our Tourism Industry. It has then become a quadripartite body, with representatives from the academe added to those from the original three sectors.

The Outgoing Board members with Ma. Christina Aquino (seated, second from right) and the Incoming Board, led by Robert John Horrigan (center)

With the core values of Transparency, Integrity, Balance, Focus, and Innovation, this tourism body continuously works for an adequate supply of competent tourism professionals that match up to or even surpass international standards.

Not too long ago, this quadripartite tourism body, which now prefers to call itself the Tourism Board, for a more pleasant “ring” to its name, elected a new set of officers for a three-year term.  Needless to say, this energetic set of Board Members will have new ideas and new strategies that will certainly be more effective as each one is committed to achieving the Board’s goal of further elevating our Tourism workforce’s efficiency and standards.

Department of Tourism Asec. Rica Bueno (right), an Adviser of the Tourism Body, presents a token of appreciation to Outgoing Chairperson Ma. Christina Aquino

The new officers are: Robert John Horrigan of Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines (HRAP), Chairperson; Joji Ilagan Bian of Council of Hotel and Restaurant Educators of the Philippines (COHREP), Vice-Chairperson; Lilibeth Aragon of the Association of Administrators in Hospitality Hotel and Restaurant Management Educational Institutions (AAHRMEI), Secretary; Arjun Shroff of Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), Treasurer; Divine de los Reyes (Association of Human Resource Managers (AHRM), Auditor; and myself, representing the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), as Public Relations Officer.

The other members of the Board are: Lurhen Cortes of Junior Tourism and Hospitality Management Association of the Philippines (JTHMAP), Hessel Larcia of National Union of Workers in Hotel Restaurant and Allied Industries (NUWHRAIN), Jing Lagandaon of the Philippine Association of Convention/Exhibition Organizers and Suppliers Inc (PACEOS), Allan Paul Tang of Philippine Association of Researchers for Tourism and Hospitality (PARTH), Benito Bengzon, Jr. of Philippine Hotel Owners Association (PHOA), and Cynthia Lirio of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA).  The Board of Advisers are Asec. Rica Bueno of the Department of Tourism (DOT); Dr. Susan Solis of the University of the Philippines’ Asian Institute of Tourism (UPAIT); and Director Susan de la Rama of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Outgoing Chairperson Ma. Christina Aquino turns over to Incoming Chairperson Robert John Horrigan the reins of the Tourism Board

What are the benefits for members? For employers, the Tourism Board establishes a labor market information system for effective and efficient manpower pooling. For the labor sector, workers get exposed to effective training programs, thus increasing their efficiency and competitiveness in the market. For the government, it will have an accurate determination of actual manpower supply and demand.  For the academe, educational institutions are made aware of the evolving demands of the Industry upon which they can base the upgrade of their Tourism and Hospitality programs.

True to its mandate, the Tourism Board has been hosting a series of educational Webinars that further augment the skills of industry professionals and workers.  They have been updated on international tourism standards and trends, making them aware of what they have to keep up with, if they want to succeed and carve a name for themselves in the industry.  These interesting Webinars continued throughout the pandemic and the participation of committed Tourism professionals and workers was not at all affected.

The amiable Outgoing Treasurer Dr. Gloria Baken Wong-Siy ensures she will turn over the Tourism Board’s coffers filled to the brim

Now, in the pipeline, is T.H.E. Academy which will offer Tourism Human Capital Development Programs that will make available to participants a wide range of expertise in our Industry.  Incidentally, the “T.H.E.” stands for Tourism, Hospitality Excellence, guaranteeing those who will enlist for the courses their “cut-above-the-rest” proficiency in our industry’s competitive arena, once they complete the program.

With a very active Tourism Board expertly holding together the dynamics between the government, labor, private and educational sectors, there is no doubt our tourism industry can easily bounce back to its pre-pandemic success.  After all, we are Filipinos, and having gone through all kinds of seemingly insurmountable challenges, we’ve learned that “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass…it’s about learning how to dance in the rain!” — Bob Zozobrado



At a party, a young wife admonished her husband, “That’s the fourth time you’ve gone back for ice cream and Coke.  Doesn’t it embarrass you?”  “Why should it?” answered the husband.  “I keep telling them it’s for you!”


For feedback, I’m at bobzozobrado@gmail.com


Credit belongs to : www.manilastandard.net


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