By Cesar Cruz Jr.
Women’s Month is a time we commemorate the achievements of women as well as their remarkable roles in various aspects of society.
In line with this, Experience Travel and Living takes a closer look at the women leaders of the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies (NAITAS).
NAITAS is a major national tourism association in the country which has a national body consisting of the Board of Trustees and Executive Officers. Furthermore, it has several chapters around the country with their own sets of officers.
In the face of the pandemic, these exceptional women remained focused, passionate, and future-ready. They continue to lead with resilience and compassion as they soar high in their advocacy of responsible tourism. Get to know them as they break ground in the tourism industry as the country bounces back post-pandemic.
In the face of the pandemic, Raquel stood tall and faced each morning with hope. Her unwavering faith in the Lord served as her anchor as she turned challenges into opportunities for personal growth. As a mother, she looked after the safety and well-being of her children with great care.
As for her NAITAS family, she never stopped reaching out to them. Online seminars like digital marketing, continuing online education, providing life coach speakers, and bridging airlines and Department of Tourism (DOT) concerns were rendered untiringly. All these learnings have armed members of the association to face the future demands of the travel industry.
For Racquel, the travel industry serves as a platform to grow one’s network, socialize, and touch lives for the better – aside from its business aspects. As the current President of NAITAS, she represents the association in the DOT, airlines, embassies, operators and other tourism- related organizations. As such, looking after the ideals and members are the top priority. For her, being a leader is not all about intelligence but the heart to serve the common good of the members and the association.
She is the Immediate Past President of NAITAS. Her Old-World views about time and space, health, movement, and relationships have been challenged by the pandemic. It made her realize how vulnerable yet resilient the human spirit is. Moreover, the pandemic stressed the importance of being connected to one another in overcoming the world crisis.
Florence led as National President of NAITAS when travelling was on a standstill. In spite of it all, NAITAS was at the forefront of restart tourism activities at the height of the crisis. It carried on its advocacy of sustainable and inclusive tourism specially in the countryside. It collaborated closely with government and private entities. She finds meaning in being able to contribute to a bigger cause by way of connecting and helping people during this most difficult time.
The leader sees the continuation as well as increase of the use of technology in booking trips, as well as the need for more customized and personalized services. As a travel agent, she prepares for the future by embracing technology, developing niche expertise, and building strong relationships with her clients. As a tourism advocate, she stays in loop about emerging trends, raise awareness and promote responsible and sustainable tourism so as to preserve destinations for the future generations.
Angel Gallego Santos
The pandemic made her realized her sense of self in all aspects, the most significant of which is to attain spiritual fulfillment. This has led to opening the door to her inner happiness that is crucial in making better life choices.
For Angel, being in the travel industry is more of a passion and a mission. Being a member of the Board of Trustees for NAITAS has proven to be a great channel to utilize her gifts and talents to transform the world in a positive way.
As one of the leaders in the travel industry, she vows to help create different platforms to make travel affordable to every Filipino.
The pandemic brought forth learnings for her that cannot be overemphasized -that health is indeed wealth and the importance of spending quality time with family.
The member of the Board of Directors finds fulfillment in being part of an organization that helped out in meeting the basic needs of those who became jobless due to the rehabilitation of Boracay years back.
Pia envisions a bright future for the travel industry of the country wherein everyone works hand in hand to preserve the beauty of Mother Nature.
For Corazon, the pandemic was a rude awakening in the sense that it proved that anything can happen in our lives. It taught this top executive not to borrow money in case another pandemic occurs. She is all out for enjoying life, saving more, and travelling while she still can.
The woman with a heart to serve has been in the travel industry for almost a decade. She used to serve as President of NAITAS Davao and the now as a member of the Board of Trustees. As a passionate travel agent, she extends her assistance to her colleagues in the industry by sharing relevant information and assisting them in their visa requirements.
While conservative in her approach, she is fully aware that in coming years digitalization will rule the industry. Her Information Technology background gives her an advantage in adjusting to the new trend.
The pandemic reminded her of the brevity of life as well as the importance of one’s family. It made her appreciative of the little things in life. For Anita, it is vital to invest in one’s health and nourish one’s body in order to stay healthy during a pandemic.
Her role in the travel industry is to help rehabilitate the loses during the pandemic by promoting the significance of Philippine culture and tourism through different programs and activities leading towards the development of the community from the grassroots leading to the entire nation. As a proud Filipino citizen, this is her way of contributing to the development of the country. It also doubles as her legacy for the next generation.
As the travel industry moves forward, Anita sees collaboration as an important tool towards sustainable development. In this regard, meaningful partnerships with various agencies and organization sharing the same goals and aspirations are vital.
The pandemic made Bernice realize that life is too precious to be taken for granted. For her, a change of habits for the good of our well-being is a big step towards a healthier and meaningful journey.
Being already immersed in the travel industry for seven years, Bernice still considers herself as a newbie. She was a medical student back then when she decided to make a career change. Along with her family, she decided to put up their own travel agency. Soon, she became a member of NAITAS and was elected as one of the Chapter Presidents back in 2017. Added to that, she also held the post of general secretary of the association and currently as the Auditor and part of the Board of Trustees. She finds meaning in being able to share her talent, skills, and the chance to grow and improve herself each passing day.
For this officer, the future of the travel industy is continuously innovating from technologies, trends, and new sites to consider. Accordingly, she believes that change is inevitable and the industry should be prepared for it. Her positive outlook in life and her proactive approach make her ready to meet the challenges that lie ahead.
For Ollah, the pandemic brought many challenges on how to live life - the uncertainty of the future, altered daily routines, financial pressure, as well as social isolation. On the good side, however, it strengthened family ties and it made people realize the beauty of living a simple life.
Customer satisfaction became the essence of her job as a Travel Agent. It gives her joy when she makes them happy and satisfied.
She prepares herself for the future of the travel industry by using digitalization platforms and embracing a sustainable eco-friendly tourism. Nancy Dominguez
The Vice President Internal of NAITAS, has shared her thoughts on the current state of women in society, describing them as empowered and fearless in facing life's challenges. She believes that with this newfound confidence, women cannot be easily deterred or held back.
Dominguez also expressed her strong passion for serving NAITAS members and the association as a whole. She believes that service to others is paramount and that the heart is more powerful than the mind.
Looking towards the future, Dominguez is confident that NAITAS is fully prepared for the upcoming "Travel Revenge" following the pandemic. The organization is future-ready and equipped to handle whatever challenges come their way.