Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco has cited the forthcoming world’s first green travel mart, forum, and festival in the Philippines as a clear path in transforming “tourism with sustainability as a bedrock” principle.
Frasco affirmed the vital support of the Department of Tourism (DOT) behind the International Ecotourism Travel Mart (IETM) which is set from March 29 to April 2 in Silang, Cavite, and where 25 nations are set to participate.
The IETM is presented by the Asian Ecotourism Network—the Asian initiative of the Global Ecotourism Network based in Washington DC. The five-day historical assembly and event is organized by the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST).
Together with DOT, the IETM is co-hosted by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, Municipality of Silang, the Department of Trade and Industry, Tourism Promotions Board, PhilExport, and Philippine Airlines.
Frasco met with Dr. Mina T. Gabor, ISST chair and president; Dr. Alma de Leon, ISST vice president and Mike Guioguio, ISST director at her office. Drs. Gabor and de Leon are former secretaries of the Departments of Tourism and Social Welfare, respectively.
Frasco noted that her call for sustainability is neither lip service nor a motherhood statement “but a way of life,” noting the devastating impact of climate change. She said it is important to “actualize theories” on attaining sustainability and averting climate change as she noted the learnings that can be had from the forum, including the sharing on best practices.
DOT is set to showcase ecotourism destinations of the Philippines at the IETM exhibit.
Other distinctive exhibit features are the ACB Pavilion which presents Heritage Parks from ASEAN, the Tribal Pavilion which is prepared with participating tribal communities, and the Green Technologies for various products and services with strong eco-components.
A key event in the IETM is the two-day Ecotourism Forum where participants learn about best practices, do’s and don’ts about authentic ecotourism to protect nature and biodiversity while ensuring that communities living around the ecotourism sites benefit from the gains of ecotourism enterprises.
The forum will have experts from all over the world as speakers and panelists.
Silang Mayor Alston Kevin Anarna said it is an honor for Silang to be the site of this global undertaking and Silanguenos are committed to do their part to help achieve IETM goals.
Cultural numbers from Silang will also be presented.
Families visiting the IETM are in, not just for learning and much-needed values-shaping activities, but also for bonding amidst delightful scenes such as the DOT Butterfly Garden, lush greeneries and wild bird tours.
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