By: Cesar Cruz Jr.
SKAL International Makati proudly unveiled the recipients of the 31st SKAL International Makati Tourism Awards on October 26, 2023, at the SMX Aura Convention Center in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. This distinguished event coincided with the 42nd Skål International Makati Founding Anniversary.
The 2023 awardees were recognized for their outstanding achievements and significant contributions across various sectors of the travel and tourism industry, symbolizing the pinnacle of excellence in their respective domains.
In the Hotel Category, Grand Hyatt Manila received the honor, while the Resort Category celebrated Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resort Davao. All Nippon Airways (ANA) received the prestigious accolade in the Airline Category, while Southwind Travel and Tours Inc. shone in the Tour Operator Category. Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar was a source of pride in the Cultural Tourism Category, and the Tourism Infrastructure Category paid tribute to Mactan-Cebu International Airport. Aloguinsan Cebu earned recognition in the Local Tourism Category, and the Education Category extended honors to UP - Asian Institute of Tourism. CNN Philippines was acknowledged in the Media Category. These institutions demonstrated unwavering dedication and innovation within their respective sectors, making substantial contributions to the growth and progress of the Philippine tourism industry.
The Personality Awardees were equally remarkable. Mr. Manny Pangilinan was esteemed in the Sports Tourism Category, and Ms. Elizabeth Sy was acknowledged for her contributions in the M.I.C.E. Category (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions). Hon. Maria Esperanza Christina Garcia Frasco was celebrated in the Government Category, and First Lady Marie Louise "Liza" Araneta Marcos was recognized as Patrons of Philippine Arts & Culture. Additionally, a Posthumous Award was granted in memory of Robert Lim Joseph Jr., a former SKAL International Makati President. These exceptional individuals left indelible marks in the travel and tourism sector, distinguishing themselves as leaders in their respective domains.
In her keynote speech, DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco emphasized that "Tourism is not just about visiting our natural landscapes. More importantly, it is about forging friendships, getting to know each other's cultures, exchanging ideas and opinions, and appreciating each other's humanity." She highlighted the alignment of the Department of Tourism with the intention of SKAL International, which places friendship at its core.
The SKAL International Tourism Awards, known for their tradition of honoring excellence and innovation, epitomize the highest standards in the travel and tourism industry.
SKAL International Makati President Farid emphasized the importance of prioritizing sustainability, inclusivity, and responsible tourism. He urged industry professionals to ensure that their industry continues to positively impact local communities, safeguard the environment, and offer meaningful and unforgettable experiences to all.
The awards ceremony brought together industry leaders, professionals, and government officials to celebrate these outstanding achievements and explore the future of Philippine tourism, creating an evening filled with inspiration and insight.