Training needed


A family from Baguio visited Bohol as tourists before the pandemic lockdowns. The head of the family noticed how representatives (tourist aides) of the local government there gave them information, directions and how to go about their vacation so they would go back home satisfied. Indeed, they were not only satisfied. They were impressed.
In Baguio City, we still have a long way to go as far as our tourist front liners are concerned. The first line of people who meet ordinary tourists are the taxi drivers. Sadly, there are still taxi units that are dilapidated. While some have changed to brand new units, there are still a good number whose seat belts are not even working well or their doors do not open and close properly. Some doors had to be opened from the outside so you had to bring down the window and reach out to the opening mechanism outside. In the middle of a windy and strong downpour, you would be soaking wet before the door is finally opened, enabling you to open your umbrella.
Then there are cabbies who are just new on the job without even learning the basics of simple etiquette or of entertaining a customer. A simple principle as “the customer is always right” is a strange thing to them. They would quarrel with a passenger who knows better the right route for him, only because their pride could not take a non-resident knowing better than them.
How about criminals? There are those who specialize in victimizing tourists. They come in all shapes. Some are petty like the pick-pockets while others are big time operators who cover not just the city but also up to Metro Manila and nearby provinces. They are masters of their schemes and could sell to unsuspecting outsiders residential lots in Metro Baguio using fake documents like supposed land titles.
For these glib talkers, they should be first priority among law enforcers and public prosecutors.
It takes many years before any place can get known to be tourist friendly so its best to get started pronto. And there has to be a determined push to achieve this on the part of the city’s leadership and also those of national government agencies mandated to promote tourism as a way of creating jobs and livelihood for the people. And as a big contributor to the government’s coffers.**


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