Salimbay’s retrospect on the highlights of 2011 for AIT and the industry:
February. Former Secretary Alberto Lim revealed before AIT students his goal of reaping 6 million inbound arrivals by 2016. He also said he wanted tourism students in the countryside to help tourism development in those areas. For the AIT and student organizations, there was a lot to celebrate in February. AIT celebrated its 35th anniversary as the first tourism school in Asia with Kita Kiro and Jo-Ann Flores emerging as Mr. and Ms. AIT 2011 (organized by TS). TMS was also celebrating its anniversary. Ecotour held its annual Domestikwhiz participated by seven schools.
March. Continuing its anniversary week, TMS held a cooking show and bartending seminar (the latter also part of the AIT 35th celebration). UP students voted for their next University Student Council. While STAND-UP dominated the top posts in the USC, KAISA has once again won all political student posts in AIT through its affiliate organization START-AIT. JC Danganan was the new chairperson.
Summer. The institute produced 7 magna cum laudes and 26 cum laudes in its commencement exercise. Meanwhile, it sent student representatives to assist in the FBINAA regional conference in Sofitel Philippine Plaza, and fourth year practicum enrollees ventured in a Thailand for an educational tour and training.
June. It was a good start of the year for the faculty. Evangeline Ortiz and Palafox’s Eli Paolo Fresnoza returned to AIT. Fresnoza took charge on the improvement of the school’s website which had been a time capsule of its year-2003 outdates. Meanwhile, 47 freshmen added to the slim population of AIT. Paulo Sotto would be the 1st year representative in July.
July. We’re seeing AIT’s growing role in the industry with TIEZA’s holding of its Capability Building Seminar participated by its personnel and staff at the AIT. This is among other partnership projects including tourism planning for Intramuros. Faculty member Richard Gonzalo was appointed Director of the UP Office of Student Services and Scholarships (OSSS) while Felipe de Leon, Jr., Chairman of National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). TS celebrated their 25th Anniversary this year with a pre-Bottom’s Up party, Chronic Hour. At the same time, Salimbay shifted strategy from print to online in its launching of the wordpress.com site. Despite the move, the newsletter is still receiving requests to do print.
August. AIT held its Domestic Out-of-the-Classroom Learning Activity (OCLA), dubbed as the Super OCLA in Zamboanga del Norte from August 19-21, with more than 160 participants comprised of students and six faculty members of AIT. Prior to the Super OCLA, former DOT Secretary Gemma Cruz-Araneta visited the AIT and gave a short lecture to the participants about Jose Rizal as the National Hero celebrates his 150th Birth Anniversary this year. Ecotour added another year as they observed their 15th Anniversary with the theme One with the Wild.
September. While the industry was celebrating Aquino’s election ad man rising to tourism secretary seat, concerned AIT students raised the question of whether a marketing man should really become the authority in an industry he has no expansive background of. Salimbay received a report that Jimenez would visit the institute on October. This is followed by a hand-written letter from the DoT Secretary to Dean Mena regarding AIT’s role in tourism development. Salimbay has not verified whether the visit actually happened. More on government frustration, AIT joined the rest of UP as we stormed for Palma Hall to protest against the cut on the university and SUC budgets.
October. Following the Domestic OCLA, a four-day International OCLA in Hongkong and Macau was joined by more than 20 students of AIT with Ivan Henares. The T-126 class of the semester made a historic move in organizing a Quezon City tourism summit for high school students. A source said the concept would be developed into a national tourism summit in the coming years.
November. The start of the new semester saw former LPU Dean Susan Solis in a comeback as professor, handling the T-181 and T-121 class, and Kenneth Hernando as new AITSC councilor, replacing Alyanna Cagandahan. Aside from that, new set of officers, including two AIT alumnae were elected at the Tourism Congress held in PICC. AIT faculty members and students were also present to facilitate the election. AIT welcomed socio-political org START-AIT as they celebrated their 1st Anniversary with the theme of Formula One: START your Engine. Also in November, TS held its annual Bottom’s Up.
December. Lara Bartolome was chosen as an intern to represent the Philippines for the Memphis in May (MIM) International Festival in Tennessee, USA. On the other hand, three junior students are also set to leave for Korea next year for the Korean Exchange Student Program in the Korean University of Technology and Education. To conclude the year right, AIT placed third on the annual Lantern Parade festival held last December 18 featuring the AIT logo-inspired “Sarimanok” float.