I recently attended the 5th Tourism Human Resource Congress conducted by the Tourism Industry Board Foundation, Inc (TIBFI) in coordination with Department of Tourism on October 3-4, 2019, held at CAP John Hay, Baguio City. There were many insights and learnings from the different local and international speakers. A big part of the audience were students, academe, as well as management and front liners representing different establishments.
The congress tackled the onset of digitalization, robotics and artificial intelligence during this 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). Some speakers emphasized on the swift progress of technology that it highlights the possibility of robotics taking over some of the tasks humans do in the future. As it is happening now, many switchboard operators have been replaced by computer programs. Booking flights, hotels, car rentals can now be done online instead of availing of human travel agents and reservations officers.
The congress underscored topics which stimulated the minds of the audience. Issues such as upgrading the skills of teachers and trainers across education levels and deploying teachers for immersion programs for the tourism industry were emphasized. These will allow them to teach real-life scenarios and have a better grasp of the real world. Additionally, it was alarming to note that Phil-ippines college graduates’ English proficiency has decreased remarkably that our neighboring Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia have been giving more importance to these.
The Department of Tourism, however, presented the Filipino Brand of Service Excellence topic which focuses on the Filipino frontliners’ core values which will definitely help improve in delivering great customer care and service excellence. These seven core values include, Maka-Maylika, Makatao, Maka-Kalikasan, Maka-Bansa, Masayahin, May-Bayanihan at May Pag-asa.
I was tasked to be one of the panel members assigned to tackle ‘future employment challenges in the 4IR’ where I represented the foodservice industry. There were interesting insights such as, enhancing service efficiency and improving personalized customer service as this is something that robots can’t do.
As I delivered my last few words to the audience, I could not help but focus my attention to the future workers—the student at-tendees who will soon be graduating and will be entering the world of employment. As someone caught it in video, I watched my-self talking not just as a trainer and educator but as an employer who guides the future workforce of the 4th Industrial Revolution:
“The 4thIR impacts many industries including Tourism industry. It employs many people. I suggest that you learn to be multi-skilled and practice these more. Focus and shift your attention to learning other skills so that when the time comes that robotics and artificial intelligence will be adapted in the future and take over some of the tasks that we do, then you are ready to shift to another skill. Furthermore, it would be good to enhance our soft skills, or the attitude towards work. In reality, customer care and great customer service have a lot to do with human interaction which involves emotions, human touch, empathy, compassion and caring. All these are truly important attributes of tourism.”