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January 11, 2024   Santa Cruz Campus   College of Hospitality Management and Tourism

Home/ News & Articles/ ‘Professional network vital in tourism, hospitality,’ says industry expert
‘Professional network vital in tourism, hospitality,’ says industry expert

What are the key points that future tourism and hospitality management professionals should keep in mind as they prepare for a “glocalized” industry?

According to Dr. Azucena “Zeny” Cinco Pallugna, Director for Tourism Regulations, Coordination, and Resource Generation (TRCRG) of the Department of Tourism (DOT), there are three important things that students should know: social connection, authenticity, and professional network.

“ ‘Get out there and make new friends’ may sound too fun to be associated with serious networking but [it] is usually very effective,” Dr. Pallugna stated. “Simply being social is a great way to start building a network.”

Serving as the guest speaker, Dr. Pallugna shared her experiences as an industry expert before the participants of the 5th GLOCAL Trends of Tourism and Travel Industry of the New Millennium, an event hosted by the College of Hospitality Management and Tourism (CHMT) of the Laguna State Polytechnic University-Sta Cruz Main Campus (LSPU-SCC) at the Cultural Center of Laguna, Jan. 9.

With the theme “Global and Local Professional Revolution: Taking off into Bright Future by Building Relationship and Connecting People through Academe, Industry Organizations, and MICE Sector,” different experts from the field joined Dr. Pallugna in sharing their knowledge, focusing on sustainability, innovation, authenticity, and attitude to empower the future tourism and hospitality management professionals. 

The event was organized by the fourth (4th)-year tourism students for their MCE class under the supervision of Mr. Jerome R. Fernandez, MCE Adviser. The conduct of the event aimed to exemplify the quality training the students underwent in the completion of their program.  

Forum Sessions
During the first forum on the topic “Organization Unite as One: A Unique Engagement Between Organizations in the Tourism Industry,” Dr. Lee Majors Fajilan, Professor at Saint Louis University, discussed the similar objectives of the local and international organizations: spreading awareness, developing creativity, and enhancing leadership, among others. 

Dr. Fajilan, also serving as the Public Relations Officer, Board of Director of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Educators of the Philippines (COHREP), explained that tourism organizations aim primarily to make travelling enjoyable, secure, and safe like how it is at present.  

Meanwhile, Dr. Gloria Baken Siy, Founding President and President Emeritus of the Association of Administrators in the Hospitality, Hotel, and Restaurant Management Educational Institutions (AAHRMEI), discussed the functions, structures, and sustenance of an organization through competence and teamwork.  

“’Yung teammates n’yo po, hindi n’yo ‘yan kakompetensya,” Dr. Siy reminded the participants.  “They are your partners. No one is higher than the other.”

On the other hand, the second forum entitled “Facilitating Intellectual Growth: An In-Depth Investigation into the Academic Community of Hospitality and Tourism Industry,” Dr. Ma. Christina Aquino, Immediate Past President of the Tourism Industry Board Foundation Inc., (TIBFI), discussed what is currently happening in the hospitality and tourism industry and pointed out different sectors involving it such as the academe, industry, and government which make sure that the Philippines always meets the national and international standards and stays updated for areas of improvement. 

Dr. Evangeline Timbang, Assistant Dean of the College of Tourism and Hospitality Management at the University of Sto. Tomas (UST), reminded the students that aside from skills and knowledge, attitude is a big factor to become successful in the field of hospitality and tourism. She also went over the concepts of travelers of tomorrow (i.e., future clients), global issues (e.g., climate change), artificial intelligence, and green technology, among others. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Lilibeth Aragon, President of AAHRMEI and Dean of the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LSU)-Manila, shared the different in-demand job opportunities in the industry. She also emphasized that learning cannot only be found in our school.  

“There are different sources from where you students can learn, not only from your teacher,” Dr. Aragon said. “Meron tayong ability for self-directed learning…kami bilang mga teachers n’yo can direct you to a certain learning process but you yourself have the decision if you would like to learn.”  

During the last forum session entitled “Igniting Progress: Fueling Prosperity of Tourism Excellence through Solidified MICE Fundamentals,” Mr. Joel Pascual, President of PEPTARSUS Corporation and Ms. Marisa D. Nallana, President of Philippine Exhibitions and Trade Corporation (PETCO), shared how conventions and exhibitions started and the current status of the Philippines in the field of exhibitions. They then encouraged the students to join MICE and help the country to promote and get back its post as part of the top three MICE exhibition conventions in the region. 

All forums were followed by question and answer portions wherein the students had the chance to ask questions and advice to become successful in their chosen field. There were also games and raffle prizes given that added excitement to the program.

Mr. Jerome R. Fernandez ended the program by thanking everyone who supported and participated in the MICE 2023, most especially Dr. Mario R. Briones, University President; Engr. Manuel Luis Alvarez, Campus Director of LSPU-SCC; and other university personnel.  

Also taking part in the event with their words of encouragement and support were Dr. Eden C. Callo, Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dr. Charmine V. Rivera, Dean of CHMT System; and Hon. Ramil Hernadez, Governor of Laguna, represented by Dr. Monette O. Bato.

Selected students from Philippine Women’s University (PWU) and LSPU also participated in the said event.