Newly-designated Department of Tourism (DOT-6) officer-in-charge (OIC) Cristine Mansinares is counting on domestic travelers to revive the pandemic-hit tourism industry of Western Visayas.
In a virtual press conference, Mansinares said she has high hopes that domestic travel will greatly help the industry get back on its feet.
Last year, the DOT-6 introduced its new tagline to promote the region’s tourism destinations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The “Safely Experience Western Visayas First” tagline of the region’s tourism department will be retained, said Mansinares, who officially assumed the function on April 17.
The DOT-6 will focus on strengthening their online presence to boost domestic tourism.
"We will be maximizing the use of online and digital channels to communicate tourism-related updates and information,” said Mansinares.
The department will soon launch its own website where travelers can view the list of DOT-6 accredited tourism sites and accommodation establishments in Western Viaysas that have been allowed to operate.
The website will also contain updated health and safety protocols and border restrictions imposed by local government units (LGUs) and health authorities within the region.
“We are planning to incorporate a chat booth that will answer queries 24/7 especially those questions that are frequently asked," said Mansinares.
The DOT-6 will also prioritize the development of Slow Food Travel in Western Visayas to push for a sustainable tourism model by developing connections among small scale farmers, cooperatives and businesses while raising awareness among visitors about the importance of preserving biodiversity, championing farm and organic agriculture tourism, cultural heritage promotion and local gastronomy, among others.
"We have a Slow Food in Negros Occidental. We will soon create one in Panay and Guimaras and create a Slow Food in Western Visayas. It will showcase more on naturally-grown products and earth-friendly packaging," said the DOT-6 OIC.
Mansinares, who hails from Sagay City, served as tourism officer of Negros Occidental before she was assigned 2020 as DOT-6 chief tourism operations officer.
Like her predecessor, lawyer Helen J. Catalbas, Mansinares was also an academic achiever. She received her bachelor’s degree in tourism from Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod where she graduated magna cum laude and class valedictorian in 2005.
She completed her Masters in Business Administration degree from the University of San AgustinIloilo in 2008 and in the same year, finished a short course on Tourism Promotion and Marketing at the Tokyo International Center under the Japan International Cooperation Agency grant.
In 2015, she completed her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos in Bacolod City.IMT