The city and province, from a tourism perspective, are truly in a good place right now. One, they have gotten the attention of various award-giving bodies that give more honor and prestige to their localities; two, restaurants and cafes are just popping out in almost every corner, truly a sign of a flourishing economy and a welcoming clientele and three, proof that when there is synergy among all concerned, everyone reaps the rewards.

But alas, I just heard about an unfortunate incident in a certain mall (tourism-related establishment) that was not so big on the customer-care department involving a member of the fourth estate at that. And just like a smooth cog, one wheel broke loose. How is this connected with the recent tourism-related successes of the city and province, one may ask, well sadly, in many ways.

I heard from a report that the treatment to the media man was impolite and was bordering on harassment and that other complaints about are emerging because of this incident. Although we have yet to hear from the mall, in any event, things like these are what tourism nightmares are made of. As an ex-tourism practitioner, I know for a fact that malls are the “first or immediate” touch of visitors and tourists, they spend a considerable amount of time and money there and the industry even holds events there acknowledging the mall’s reach capacity and ability to easily attract tourists.

Customer Service 101 taught us that ANYONE facing customers represents the face and voice of any establishment. For example, if a customer service representative or a guard from The Mall of America (biggest mall) treats someone shabbily, it is as if one of the Ghermezian family (owners) did it; which they would never do as they are adept in these things. The point is, in the tourism-perspective, the act can be representative of mall management and worse, of the Ilonggos in general.

Now I do not even want to elaborate on what the media can do. But I guess I have to. They have been known to make kings kneel and who haven’t heard of “the pen is mightier than the sword” saying. But I digress, a little. Suffice it to say that media, not just in the tourism sector, but in almost all forms of development, is an important partner. They bring it to the recipients who matter the most: public. There must be mutual respect if we are to work together to bring tourism agenda to the fore.

In conclusion, bad experiences like this need total customer-service revisiting and this serves as a gentle reminder to malls that they have to be cognizant of the fact that they are part of the bigger picture and not the sole canvass. That they are a major wheel in the locality’s tourism development efforts and should always push for its success instead of contributing to its failure.