Governor Joey Salceda of Albay on Thursday night brought home a trophy and a PHP1-million worth of grant for tourism projects from the Department of Tourism, which recognized his government’s programs behind the province’s tourism growth.
Salceda won the DOT’s first Tourism Star Awards in the local chief executive category.
The DOT’s version of the Oscars for the local tourism industry, the Tourism Star Awards is given to front-liners, media, and heads of local government units. This year’s awardees were recognized on Thursday, February 12, at Fairmont Makati.
According to the DOT, local tourism councils nominated their mayors or governors for the local chief executive category. After screening, the nominees went through final evaluation done by a committee composed of representatives from the DOT, Development Academy of the Philippines, and other institutional partners.
Mayors and governors were judged according to the following criteria: institutional, promotions, planning and product development, regulatory, investments, and centerpiece projects.
Under Salceda’s leadership, governments of Albay, Masbate, and Sorsogon formed the ALMASOR Tourism Alliance. “The alliance, considered to be a pioneering concept in tourism development and promotion, resulted to a boost in tourist arrivals less than a year since its conception,” wrote the DOT in a project brief.
Home of Mayon Volcano, Albay also hosted an international climate change and tourism conference last year. Salceda is the poster boy of climate change mitigation and disaster response of local government units in the Philippines, which he integrates in sustainable tourism programs.
The other winners of the Tourism Star Awards include Gerry Bie Dalimag, an 18-year old tour guide of Callao Caves, Cagayan, and Bobby Adrao, one of the first licensed whale shark interaction officers of Donsol, Sorsogon, for the tourism front-liner category.
Meanwhile, Drew Arellano of Biyahe ni Drew in GMA-7 and Anton Diaz, the blogger behind Our Awesome Planet, were selected for the media category.
The DOT also recognized the late Susan Calo-Medina’s efforts in promoting domestic tourism through her show, Travel Time.