As a manifestation of the stronger academe-industry linkage, the UST Graduate School – Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics (CCCPET), the Office of Alumni Relations (OAR) and the College of Tourism and Hospitality Management (CTHM) hosted the ATOP-DOT Pearl Awards Final Screening held on September 20, 2019 at the George SK Ty Hall of the UST Paredes Building. The prestigious Tourism Pearl Awards program, conducted by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP), is an annual competition open to all local government units to present their exceptional tourism practices, projects and innovations. The ATOP-DOT Pearl Awards 2019 is chaired by the Mabalacat City, Pampanga tourism officer and UST Graduate School Cultural Heritage Studies alumnus Mr. Arwin Lingat. The final judging was coordinated by Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics Director Assoc. Prof. Eric B. Zerrudo.
For this year’s Tourism Pearl Awards, the program has gathered over 250 local chief executives from 55 local government units to attend the final judging. The winners were announced in an awarding ceremony held on October 4, 2019 in Paoay, Ilocos Norte.
Named Grand Winner for Best Tourism Research was Ormoc City, Leyte. The research was titled “OGMOK: Developing a Sustainable Tourism Development Plan Using the Stakeholder’s Perspective Approach – The Case of Ormoc City, Leyte, Philippines.” The researcher was Jame Monren Mercado of the UST CCCPET.
The Grand Winner for the Best Tourism Event- Adventure Sport Category was won by a municipality under Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez. The province of Samar won the Best Community-based Responsible Tourism for its Sohoton Cave and Natural Bridge Tour Program.
Some of the jurors were UST faculty members, namely, Executive Secretary to the Rector and faculty member of the Faculty of Arts and Letters Prof. Augusto Antonio Aguila, Ph.D., for Best Tourism Event for Festivals and Sports; UST College of Tourism of Hospitality Management Dean Atty. Gezzez Giezi G. Granado, DCL, for Best Tourism-oriented LGU, Best Tourism Organization, Best Tourism Month or Week and Outstanding Tourism Officer; and OAR Director Asst. Prof. Fredeswindo R. Medina for Best Tourism Video, Best Tourism Collaterals, Best Tourism Route and Best Event Hosting.