High gear in tourism marketing and promotions! PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 06 September 2015 15:09


BY Sarita Sebastian

We were bombarded with the same question over and over again: “Is it safe to go to your city Ma’am” — from the first day onwards the second day of the Philippine Travel Mart in SMX and mind you, I’m expecting the same question today while you are reading this column.

Before the start of the event, I told my colleague Jessica Caroline Fabrigas to condition herself to such question. The said question has been prominently asked since after the 2013 September siege. It hurts, but what can we do? It has become a stigma to people’s mind.

While they are nibbling on our garlic peanuts, alfajor and lokot lokot (which we put on display for free tasting ), we had to explain the efforts being done by the local government headed by Mayor Beng Climaco along with our police ,military and the other sectors of our city.Thank goodness our clients seem to be attentive for some reasons. We do not lie, we present the situation as it is. Lying is totally a blunder in public relations. You can spin the scenario with factual inputs.

But the most we do is offer them our tour menu on hand, the cultural/historical tour, eco tour, culinary tour and soon to be launched if approved the farm tour. the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival come October is part of the Cultural and Historical Tour. It is being highlighted .Thanks to Christian and Cedrik for the ready fiesta events list. Our explanation (or bula bula ) seem to have changed their initial negative perception towards our city because at the end of the negotiation, our clientele would proceed to the different airline companies (offering marked down prices for a plane ticket ) to book for their flights to our beloved Zamboanga City, especially this October for our Fiesta Hermosa!

Our DOT 9 regional director Mary June Bugante was around too to assist us in promoting our city as a tourist destination. On lull moments, we would discuss other programs and strategies that need be developed for our tourism industry.

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Majune,( Mary June Bugante ) as I fondly call her, was my former BOSS. It was through her that I’ve learned a lot.. from the preparation of project proposals to its implementation. She is one tough mama that will just strike you with her eagle eyes whenever you sounded absurd  or in chavacano LASANG.

Nonetheless, Majune will always find time to sit down with you and engage in intellectual conversation, either over a cup of coffee or our favorite drinks...secret!  She has a style of letting you explore your potential, in your respective field. She believes in empowerment, meaning, she will give you the trust and confidence for you to use your initiative with the condition that you inform her when the weather gets tough. She will never leave you hanging and will always find time to ask you if she sees you in trouble be it personal or work related. she will always have my respect.she has been a real BOSS ( Bawa’t  Oras  Sama Sama ).

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Today, being the last day of the Philippine Travel Mart 2015, Majune and myself will try to squeeze in a schedule to meet up with big tour operators. We shall move mountains to convince them to include Zamboanga City in their itinerary for their international guests.

Don’t get me wrong, our city is always in the short list of places being considered in tours, most especially by the cruise liners. However, every time something shit happens, easily we are being struck out from the IT...aguy!  But as what my boss usually say, sige lang...We don’t stop from here..we should take it as a challenge, Sarita,. Noted and wilcom!

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I’m pretty sure you miss Chinita’s giggly mode. Oh no I didn’t take any neuron stabilizer meds, it’s just that I got engrossed with a lot of stuff here in the metropolis. Not the bars uy (Though I wanna visit the Budha Bar in Makati coz I miss their in-house music and couple of cocktail drinks, gee!). It’s work related hija y hijo.. This is one occasion where I get my adrenalin rush to think what is best for our tourism industry. Gracias to Mayor Beng for allowing us to participate in this year’s PTM. thanks to Ma’am Virgie (who was with me in London last year during the World Travel Market ) and Ma’am Bibing too and her staff for facilitating our travel documents and payments to the organizer and suppliers.; BAC office who gave us the run-around like we became chicken with no head, I will deal with you later, while your head Pepe darling is very kind, gosh, there is a lady staff who acts as if we are under her mercy. Worse, even people not connected  with the local government who are transacting with the city  have been victimized by this supladita  mujer. No tanto ding...egual lang kita ta come non non!

Happy Sunday to all. May the grace and blessings of our dear Heavenly Father  be with us. I’m still looking forward to see kokaks in the city (If you know what I mean ..lol) It’s gonna be a wish come true. I hope my fairy god mother is not drunk (with her vodka tonic ) to use her magic wand and make my wish come true. See you baby!( Alto ya tamen el cejas...hmmmp..lol). — For your comments / suggestions email me at sebastian.sa