February 3, 2023

The World Trade Organization (WTO) states, “Tourism plays an important role for nearly all WTO members, especially in terms of its contribution to employment, gross domestic product, and the generation of foreign exchange. Tourism-related services are typically labor-intensive, with numerous links to other major segments of the economy, such as transport, cultural and creative services, or financial and insurance services.”
Which brings us to how our local services are being projected? Whether the service is extended to foreign or local nationalities. We might be promoting a lot of products and events to entice visitor arrivals or to bring warm bodies to come in, but are we genuinely giving them that international service or that service with a smile.
The Philippines has one major asset that lures our senior foreign balikbayans to come and visit their country again, and that is the Senior Citizens Act, which maximizes the contribution of senior citizens to nation building while granting benefits and special privileges to them.
I am not sure if we are the only country that grants special privileges to seniors, but I am happy to be a senior citizen in this country, to enjoy discounts in transportation, restaurants, hotels and medicines. Not to mention a special line in queues.
Never mind if I get a smirk or two or those dagger looks when I ride the taxi in SM Baguio or when I fall in line for payment. To my mind, I say, “Tatanda din kayo.” Belligerent?
And so, I was so happy with this bank for retirees who used to have a senior citizen lane replete with chairs to sit on during ATM pension withdrawals. Their security guards are ever so helpful to senior citizens who need assistance because sometimes the “tanders” are clueless with ATM or confused.
Those chairs are a welcome respite for tired and weak knees really. But lately, it seems this service is gone. Seniors have to line up with long queues sans chairs and so they slouch on the floor. Maybe they just came from medical consultations or are just generally weak. It seems their ATMs are always out of service and do not dispense withdrawal receipts.
But not all upsetting, there are quite some services that are uplifting.
Take the case of a café at SM called Figaro whose staff headed by Armie are excellent when it comes to giving first class service.
Likewise, the two Jens at BDO SM Baguio customer service and the Jen of China Banking Savings, Anton Rimorin and Cesar Refuerzo of Union Bank and Yanie and Myra of Ling Nam. Maybe I will make a list from now on and write about frontliners who give the best service in banks, restaurants, malls, and hotels.
I would like to wish my son Edgar “Deke” and DOT-PTA friend Jeannette Thommes a happy birthday this weekend.
Cheers!

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