Thirteen deaf tourist guides have received accreditation from the Department of Tourism (DOT) to lead specialized educational tours for visitors in Philippine tourist destinations.
The specialized tour is the first of its kind in the Philippines curated for both handicapped and non-handicapped visitors.
The 13 accredited deaf tourist guides were trained in March by the Office of Industry Manpower Development (DOT-OIMD) in partnership with the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB).
The 13 deaf tourist guides were given their first assignment to guide 30 students from the Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) through Manila’s historical spots, including Rizal Park, National Museum, and Fort Santiago.
To date there are 27 deaf tour guides who have passed the intensive 7-day training program on “Community Tour Guiding” module provided by the DOT.
The specialized tour is “curated to foster a non-handicapped educational tour with inclusivity as a guiding principle for sustainable growth and development in tourism” according to the DOT statement released to media on November 28.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the program seeks to give training for deaf individuals to become tour guides for deaf visitors.
“Having tour guides skilled with knowledge of sign language and an understanding of the services needed by persons with disabilities (PWDs) is a must under the DOT’s thrust for barrier-free tourism. Not only will this provide quality service to tourists with special needs, but more importantly, this will create opportunities, which are the very essence of an inclusive tourism industry,” says the DOT chief.
Initiated by the Office of Industry Manpower Development (DOT-OIMD) in partnership with the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB), the project is in line with Republic Act 7277: An Act Providing for the Rehabilitation, Self -Development and Self-Reliance of Disabled Persons and their Integration that stressed that “the state shall develop their (PWDs) skills and potentials to enable them to compete favorably for available opportunities”.
Meanwhile, the DOT has coordinated with the Intramuros Administration (IA) to provide the newly-minted deaf tour guides with opportunities to serve tourists with special needs.
They are all members of the Deafinite Tour Guiding Service (DTGS), a non-profit, professional organization consisting of deaf tour guides committed to deaf identity, service excellence, and professional ethics.
The newly accredited deaf tourist guides will help the DTGS guide to deaf local and foreign guests about the rich Filipino culture and history and strives to make Metro Manila accessible to deaf tourists around the world. They can be contacted at numbers (+63)917 828 1300 and (+63) 966