Five graduating BS Tourism Management students of the College of Tourism and Hospitality Management brought honor to the University and the country after ranking fifth in the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Students League competition, held in July 2021.
The UST team, composed of Mary Maureen Cucio, Mark Endrinal, Floresca May Martin, Tiffany Montances, Gershei Mae K. Quirao, and Al Reile dela Torre, were collectively known as Thomasian SDG Keepers. The team pitched their concept for sustainable tourism development of Barangay Tenani, Paranas, Samar through the marketing campaign entitled “Mabighani sa Tenani.” They competed with 64 schools globally, and were mentored by Mr. Arnulfo Ricardo A. Butiong, Mr. Avi Ben P. Andalecio, and Mr. Jame Monren T. Mercado.
According to the team, part of their inspiration was “how tourism changed the lives of the community and how it gives them a better future to look forward to. From being lost with illegal or unwanted jobs, the community has used the opportunity to become tour guides, boat drivers, teachers, cooks, and researchers.”
In crafting the said marketing plan, the team collaborated with the Department of Tourism – Region 8, the Municipality of Paranas, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Tour Guides and Board Operators for River Protection and Environment Development Organization, and the Tenani Association for Women and Development.
The UNWTO Students’ League is a competition of travel and tourism students around the globe that aims to foster creative, innovative, and sustainable solutions to pressing topics that the tourism sector is facing, and such solutions must be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).