Brace for global ecotourism
Away from the bad international impression that tourists flock the Philippines largely for sex, the Department of Tourism eggs on stakeholders to brace for global ecotourism in the country, especially Eastern Visayas.
The world’s economic portfolio indicates a big boost in the growing global market for ecotourism alongside the increasing concern on global warming. Tourism has seized to be simple recreational junket but a time off packed with care for the environment.
Region VIII, according to Dept. of Tourism planning and promotions director Cynthia Lazo, has a bigger chance to capture the growing global market for ecotourism. It has attractions that fit the trend in foreign tourists’ preference. These include the wild flora and fauna, natural landscape and seascape, local communities, picturesque villages, traditional arts and crafts, and even local gastronomy.
For this reason, tour operators are encouraged to expand their offers from simple quaint and enthralling destinations to activity-based getaways. As Lazo declared, travelers are more into activities than destinations in embarking on a vacation trip, wherefore custom-based tours should be delivered in a unique and personalized manner. She added that active protection of the environment, including support of local communities, should be part of hotel’s responsibility.
With the fiesta fares or promo fares dished out by airline companies to domestic and foreign tourists, vacation trips are becoming more frequent these days. These affordable airfares, Lazo said, change the people’s travel habit and patterns. And this is what tour operators and hoteliers should take a lead from.
A two-day regional conference on eco-tourism was held this week in Babatngon, Leyte where stakeholders were supposed to draft a road map for ecotourism development in Eastern Visayas . This is an endeavor dovetailed to the 2011-2016 development programs of the Regional Development Council.
DOT Reg. Director Karina Rosa Tiopes said that ecotourism is “one of the major strategies that will serve as driving force for poverty alleviation, job creation and social harmony, without compromising sustainability and preservation.”
Executive Order No. 111 or the law establishing the guidelines for ecotourism development in the Philippines signed in June 1999 by then Pres. Joseph Estrada reiterates the government’s policy towards this drift.
It states, “The development and promotion of ecotourism in the Philippines are viable and sustainable activities that will promote the protection of our environment while contributing at the same time to the growth of the economy; and that there is a need to establish an integrating system that shall warrant and focus government effort to sustain the viability of ecotourism development in the country.”
Ecotourism is one venture that could effectively enhance the economy of the locality and the country as well. It is one tool that can improve the country’s gross domestic product which is suffering a sad low in the past months due to the national government’s minimized spending. Local ecotourism will provide livelihood and generate revenue that are needed for a better performing economy.
Eastern Visayas is in vantage point to stir the economy through ecotourism with right strategies and prospecting.
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