This week’s title is not an exclamatory expression of admiration. Neither is it the tourism slogan under former secretary, now senator, Richard Gordon. It is actually the acronym of what our country has become—a World Of Webinars.
The dictionary defines a webinar as a seminar conducted on the Internet. I see the word as a clever fusion of the event’s main ingredients: the seminar and the worldwide web. Whoever coined the word smartly and rightfully fused these two, making it almost poetic.
I have been receiving invitations and advertisements on webinars as early as two years ago, but I never paid any attention to them, as I expected to be bored going through a seminar virtually, when I can easily be a part of one face-to-face. However, since the lockdown in the metropolis, Webinars have become staple activity in our daily lives.
Being in the tourism industry, I get invited to the Department of Tourism’s biweekly webinars. And, since the entire industry has been shattered by Tourism’s standstill globally, the various organizations are in a frenzy, trying to perk the industry up with all sorts of motivational talks from experts. These are designed to inspire the stakeholders into keeping the momentum going in the face of adversity.
These webinars are not limited only to those organized locally. I get invited by organizations based in Bangkok. The other day, I had to attend a tourism-related business webinar organized by China Daily in Beijing. I also took part in another webinar conducted by a tourism organization in Istanbul, and this was quite a challenge as business hours in Turkey are around midnight here in Manila. Needless to say, it was difficult to stay awake.
Not to be left out, my organization also sponsored our own webinar hand-in-hand with another tourism organization. Since we opened it up to anybody interested in our industry, we had a record-high of around 300 attendees, who actively participated in the Q&A.
We have scheduled another one in the next two weeks and have lined up a powerhouse cast of speakers who are definitely of interest to the industry’s stakeholders. Since all of us have been too preoccupied focusing on our problem at hand, we decided to ask outsiders to share with us best practices from their respective fields of endeavor. With these, we hope to learn something we could use to solve our industry’s problems, or, at least, mitigate their impact.
However, if you ask me how I feel about these webinars, I will readily say I’d rather have the face-to-face version. When I used to attend seminars, I always looked forward to meeting new friends, shaking hands with them, and hugging old friends I haven’t seen for some time. These gestures increase the value of the seminars, as they symbolize strengthened bonds of friendship.
With webinars, most of the time, you can’t even see who else is in the forum. You enter and leave the venue still feeling alone and isolated.
If this is the new normal that many people are looking forward to, count me out. I’d rather have the old normal back and since I’m in the tourism industry, I’ll be a Wistful Old Wanderer.
YOUR WEEKEND CHUCKLE
COME TO THINK OF IT: If money doesn’t grow on trees, why do banks have branches?
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