“It has been my dream to give back to the community and Baguio has always been on top of my list,” says Baguio born, raised and educated Jenny Panchal, a former scholar of the University of Baguio and now a senior lecturer at the College of Business, Law and Governance at James Cook University in Australia.
Jen was also a recipient of two international scholarships: the New Zealand Agency for International Development for her Masters in Tourism Management at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand and for her Ph.D. at the James Cook University in Queenslandunder the Australia Awards Scholarship.
Quite a feat, if I may say so. She is also now the president of the Filipino-Australian Association of North Queensland, a proud member and representative of Townsville to Bimaak Queensland, a mother to 16-year-old Rajiv and a loving wife to Darmesh.
So, come Nov.17 and 18, 2, Jen and Denis Tolkach, a Russian senior lecturer in Tourism and Hospitality Management also at James Cook University and a Ph. D. graduate of Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia will spearhead the 5th Cultural Tourism Recovery Workshop here in Baguio at the Venus Parkview Hotel in response to the needs of the pandemic in the new normal sponsored by the Australian government.
This is Jen’s and Denis’ pay it forward commitment to cultural tourism recovery. The first event was done online thru a webinar in Indonesia. The rest are hybrids, meaning a combination of in-person and Zoom or online.
Denis’ researches are in areas of sustainable tourism, ethics in tourism, community-based tourism, nature-based tourism and tourism in Small Island Developing States.
Jen explains “the idea of ‘cultural tourism recovery’ is based on sharing ‘best practices’, initiatives and experiences among participants in Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, and the Philippines. And this will be done via webinars, and in-person workshops”.
She added: “Mostly, it’s a meeting of the minds, sharing of expertise and ideas on how to adapt to the new normal. Further, it aims to revive cultural tourism which has been affected by the lockdowns. The workshop will focus on adaptive techniques, future product development, marketing, and creating career and entrepreneurship opportunities for women and youth. The main goals says Jen are: to develop the capacity of cultural tourism initiatives in ASEAN countries, to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, to adapt to the new conditions, to diversify economic activities and to innovate. It also aims to create long-term linkages between Australian and ASEAN communities, businesses and higher education institutions involved in cultural tourism.”
Per the interview conducted last Wednesday with Jen, there were already 50 registered in-person participants. The registration closed last Thursday for the in-person attendees, but for those who still want to join the Zoom meeting, registration is still open.
The keynote speaker for the workshop on Nov. 17 (Thursday) to be held at the Venus Parkview Hotel will be Director Nelly Nita Dillera of the Philippine Training Center of the Department of Trade and Industry.
The event will be graced by Baguio Rep. Mark Go. The panelists will include: Marie Venus Tan, Alma Rita Jimenez and Lucia Capuyan –Catanes, manager of Winaca Eco Cultural Village, a recipient of the “Best Practices” award.
On Nov. 18 (Friday) , the participants will have an ecotour of Winaca located at Acop-Pasnaan-Winaca Village Road, Tublay, Benguet.
For more information, visit their Facebook account “Cultural Tourism Recovery”.