Friday, March 5, 2010

¡El tiempo es hoy…!

“The time is now…!” is the slogan of the newly formed Tourist Management Committee for the provinces of Chiclayo and the Lambayeque Region. The committee’s twelve members were sworn in this morning in a ceremony held at the Costa del Sol hotel in Chiclayo. I know Peruvians are sometimes big on pomp and circumstance but this turned out to be a bigger deal than I expected. Chiclayo’s mayor was being sworn in as president of the Tourist Protection Network of the Province of Chiclayo by the authority of the National Tourist Protection Network, and he in turn was officially creating the region’s Tourist Management Committee.

I don’t claim to know what exactly happened this morning, or who all these folks are, but I do know the guy third from left is a colonel of police from Lima and president of the National Tourist Protection Network (his name is first on the banner behind them); the man on his left is Chiclayo’s mayor, and the uniformed guy next to him is representing Chiclayo’s general of police. The other folks are representatives from both the private and public sectors who have promised to be a part of this effort.

I also don’t know what we swore to, but I know Maribel and I are part of an impressive group of people who have a sense of urgency and an image of a re-born Lambayeque Region in terms of tourism. As I understand it, our five-year charter is primarily to work with representatives of the districts and cites to help them identify and improve the presentation of their attractions, including craft manufacturing, natural and historical attractions, and cultural events. It’s actually much, much more than that but plans are still evolving and I’m slow in coming up to speed because of the language issue.

Norma Muro is the president of our committee and is a human dynamo. She is the type of person who has a phone in one hand, a pencil in the other and a notebook on her lap while on a plane waiting to take off to Lima to meet with the Minister of Tourism. She knows everyone – apparently has the respect of everyone and has no trouble getting support for whatever is on her mind at the moment. Sometimes I wish she’d slow down and involve the committee a little bit more, but as long as she keeps making the right moves I’ll stay along for the ride.

Though we were officially sworn in this morning our work actually began on several fronts some weeks ago. Maribel and I had the privilege of teaching an introductory English course to 21 members of Chiclayo’s tourist police earlier this week, which was a very rewarding experience for me. These officers are extremely motivated to learn and are excellent students. In the near future we’ll finalize a regular schedule of classes for them. We’ve also been asked to teach English to museum personnel and to city officials at several near-by cities…all so they can better interact with English speaking tourists.

We’ve been spending a lot of hours on committee work, and our tour business has started to show signs of life which also takes time. I don’t have the luxury anymore of waking up in the morning to many unscheduled days. I miss that a bit, but it also feels good to contribute to the people and communities. I think it’s a question of balance.


1 comment:

  1. Congratulations Tom! You are a busy bee now! Don't worry, all these activities will keep you young. Good Luck to you and Maribel in all of your endeavours.