GUIMARAS A HARD SELL? DOT seeks to reposition island after Iloilo Strait tragedy

first_imgParticipants included students, businessmen, motorboatoperators and workers, motorcycle and jeepney drivers, and resort owners, amongothers. The Department of Tourism Region 6knows what it has to do: reassure tourists that it remains safe to cross theIloilo Strait. But Director Helen Catalbas acknowledges there’s a lot to do. MARINA actually ordered the phase outof all wooden-hulled passenger motorboats and replace these with aluminum- orfiberglass-hulled ones but boat operators said the cost was prohibitive. “What Guimaras is currently gettingare independent or individual travellers, small groups. Gone are the big groupsof tourists crossing the Iloilo Strait to visit the island in buses and vans,”said Catalbas. Stakeholders present includedrepresentatives from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Maritime IndustryAuthority (MARINA), local government units of Guimaras, tour operators,resorts, hotels, and restaurants. “In the minds of tourists, it’s noteasy, it’s not safe to go to Guimaras anymore,” lamented Catalbas. According to the Guimaras ProvincialTourism Office, 19,439 same-day tourists visited the island in August and16,908 in September – significantly lower than the 49,295 visitors recorded inAugust 2018 and 31,856 tourists who came in September last year. From the Parola wharf, the berthing area of motorboats plying the Iloilo City – Guimaras route has been temporarily moved to the old wharf of Bacolod City-bound fastcrafts on Iloilo City’s Muelley Loney Street to give way to the dredging of the mouth of the Iloilo River. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN Last month a group calling itself Hugpong Guimarasheld a “unity walk” in Guimaras to dramatize the sorry plight of the provincedue to the tightly regulated operation of motorboats. “We have to respect the ‘safety first’policy of MARINA and coastguard,” said Catalbas, “but we have to come up withsolutions which will allow tourism and Guimaras to move forward.” Wearing black shirts, they called for the return of the way motorboatsoperated prior to the Aug. 3 Iloilo Strait tragedy. “We will reposition Guimaras as a safedestination. We need to assure tourists that traveling to Guimaras is stillsafe. But we have to get the commitment of all stakeholders,” she said duringyesterday’s inter-agency dialogue at a hotel here. Tourism has become one of the maineconomic drivers of Guimaras which boasts of export-quality sweet mangoes,beaches and dive sites. The PCG and MARINA imposed strictmeasures on sea travel following the Aug. 3 Iloilo Strait tragedy. Theseincluded limiting motorboat trips (from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. only), removal orrolling up of tarpaulins or canvas that give shade to passengers, and mandatorywearing of lifejackets throughout the trip. Catalbas also suggested that fastcrafts and roll on, roll off (roro) ships make themselves available for chartertrips of big groups going to Guimaras. Stakeholders also agreed to lobby withMARINA to reconsider one restriction – the removal or rolling up of tarpaulinsor canvas that protect passengers from the scorching heat of the sun. ILOILO City – After the capsizing ofthree motorboats that drowned 31 people in the Iloilo Strait, tourist arrivalsin the island province of Guimaras dropped by 73 percent in August andSeptember this year from arrivals recorded in the same months last year, datafrom the Guimaras Provincial Tourism Office showed. “Our plea is that for the time being, samtang wala pa ang modernization, ibalik ang trapal with some modifications,” said Fred Davis ofHugpong Guimaras. “With a lot of events and conventionsin Iloilo City, Guimaras has to be ready to accommodate tourists. Whether weadmit it or not, whether we realize it or not, Guimaras is one of theattractions of Iloilo City. They (visitors) come here for events and they hopeto cross to Guimaras which is only 15 minutes away,” said Catalbas. One of the things that dialogueparticipants agreed yesterday was to modernize or improve motorboat services. Gov. Samuel Gumarin of Guimaras and Cong. Lucille Nava themselvesearlier warned of the economic dislocation of motorboat operators, crew andtheir families if the phase out of wooden-hulled boats is not done gradually./PNlast_img read more

England Golf Trust launched to support young players

first_img A new charitable trust, supported by England Golf, was launched today and will provide grants and bursaries for boys and girls who need financial help to play the game. The England Golf Trust replaces and extends the scope of the former EWGA Trust for girls’ golf. It is being backed by ambassadors, BBC presenter Naga Munchetty and European Tour professional Robert Rock. Naga sent a message to today’s launch event at King’s Norton Golf Club, Worcestershire, saying: “Every time I play I see the effect that that game has on the development of young people’s personal skills, confidence and values – and this is why I am delighted to be associated with the England Golf Trust. “Young people are the lifeblood of our golf clubs so helping them to play golf in a fun environment should be encouraged by us all.” The Trust will help young people, aged under 21 or in full-time education, who are in financial need and who, without this support, would not be able to play golf. It will award grants and bursaries. Money which was given to the EWGA Trust to help girls has been ring fenced and the Angela Uzielli and Bellamy Bursaries will also be open only to girls. But all future money will be available for both boys and girls. Trust chairman Di Horsley said: “It became clear that to make a real difference to young people, we should have a trust supporting both boys and young men as well as girls and young women. “The England Golf Trust fills a gap by offering help to young people who genuinely can’t afford to play golf, but who love the sport. It will give them the opportunity to stay in the game, to develop life skills including confidence, self-esteem and integrity and to help make up the heart and soul of our golf clubs.” Among those attending the launch were representatives of the PGA and the Golf Foundation, together with four young women who have been helped by the former EWGA Trust and who spoke about the support they had received. They include: Lucy Buckley, from Birmingham, first started playing golf, aged 10, on the Wii – and loved it. Her grandma enrolled her for a series of golf lessons with Greg Lynch, the PGA professional at the local driving range. Greg recognised her potential straight away and encouraged her to join Warley Woods Golf Club, a local municipal nine-hole course, owned by a Community Trust. She’s made impressive progress, helped by a grant from the Trust. Stacey Mitchell was supported by a Bellamy Bursary when she was a self-funded post graduate student at the University of Lincoln. She said: “The grant enabled me to complete my Research Masters on gender inequality in golf which has helped me to achieve my dream role as a Regional Development Officer for The Golf Foundation, also taking a lead on girls’ development for the charity. I am extremely grateful for the support provided by the EWGA Trust.” How to help the Trust: There are two ways to help the Trust, firstly by identifying those young people who need financial support to stay in the game and secondly by encouraging individuals and golf clubs to make a donation, make a bequest or buy a golf diary. To find out more about the Trust, access application forms and different ways to support it please click here Caption: Young golfers at the launch of the England Golf Trust (image © Leaderboard Photography) 4 Aug 2015 England Golf Trust launched to support young players last_img read more

Lolo Jones not minding underdog role in Sochi

first_imgIn this Oct. 25, 2013, photo, Jazmine Fenlator, right, and Lolo Jones look up after coming to a stop after racing in the U.S. women’s bobsled team Olympic trials in Park City, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Lolo Jones knows weird things can happen at an Olympics.In Beijing and London, that worked against her. In Sochi, it may prove to be her medal breakthrough.The reality is that being in USA-3 with Jazmine Fenlator for the women’s bobsled competition at the Sochi Games quite simply means that Jones is not expected to leave the Olympics with a medal. It’s far from impossible, but it also would be fair to deem it surprising if she and Fenlator are on the podium after four runs next week.“This is the Olympics of the underdogs,” Jones said Friday after a training session. “You think about everybody who was supposed to medal who didn’t medal and then you think about just so many people who have kind of come up and got a first medal. It’s been a really weird Olympics. You go down the line like Shaun White, Shani Davis, who else we have, Heather (Richardson) … it’s been definitely a year of the underdogs. I’ve never seen anything like it.”If that trend continues, USA-3 won’t complain.Jones was surrounded by expectations as a hurdler in the past two Summer Olympics, where she didn’t medal. In Sochi, she still commands attention — naturally — but there’s no huge burden of expectation, either.“It’s completely different. It’s absolutely different,” Jones said. “There’s no pressure. It’s Jaz’s first Olympics. She’s all about just having a good experience and just executing. That’s the two goals for her. And for me it’s just all about being the best teammate and giving her the best, most amazing push and velocity that she could ever ask or hope for.”Does she want a medal? Silly question. It’s why she’s bobsledding.But she also knows that many of the other sleds in the field are consistently faster than USA-3. Hardly anybody would look at results from this season or any training data and say USA-3 “should” medal.Could, yes. Should, that’s a different story.“Yes, it’s my first Olympics,” Fenlator said. “Yes, I’m an underdog or whatever you want to say. But I’m here on a mission. And I have expectations to do well.”Fair enough. And it’s not like Fenlator is some unaccomplished driver — she had three top-four finishes in eight World Cup races this season, including one silver medal, and finished seventh in the overall points standings.It’s why Jones calls the Sochi Games a “weird Olympics,” especially after some big-name American medal favorites struggled, others like Lindsey Vonn were derailed by injury even before the Olympics, and athletes like Sage Kotsenburg, Joss Christensen and Erin Hamlin have been surprise success stories.Jones and Fenlator wouldn’t mind adding themselves to that list.“We’re hoping to sweep the podium,” Fenlator said. “That’s what we want, to see three American flags. But at the end of the day we’re super proud of how far we’ve come and we’ve prepared ourselves as best as possible to represent our nation and everyone at home. So we’re going to hold our heads high and be super proud.”The team selection process was draining, especially after Jones was chosen to the Olympic squad over two longer-tenured brakemen. One was Katie Eberling, who was in Elana Meyers’ USA-1 sled for training on Friday even though Lauryn Williams — like Jones, another track athlete turned bobsledder — will be in that seat for the Olympic races.Eberling, selected as an Olympic alternate, said the team had some meetings, aired some grievances, and have since collectively moved on.“I had to move past the heartbreak and negativity and just realize that if I don’t take this chance to enjoy it, I’ll regret it,” Eberling said.If the drama over selections is bothering Jones, it wasn’t showing Friday.Here, she’s actually having fun, which is a departure from past Olympics.She was one misstep from gold in Beijing, nearly fought her way through injuries to capture a medal in London, and would appreciate nothing more than finally getting that medal in Sochi.And if it doesn’t pan out this time, the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016, back in her hurdle element, are very much in her plans.“I think every Olympian goes to the Olympics and thinks about a medal,” Jones said. “If you’re not going and thinking about a medal, you shouldn’t go.”last_img read more