Philippine local governments urged to promote sustainable tourism

The world is becoming smaller. Travelling within or outside the country has become easier compared to previous decades, which may be attributed to increasing travel options (e.g. budget airlines) and economic development. In particular, the Philippines has seen increasing number of tourists, both international and domestic. While tourism presents a huge opportunity for boosting local economies, it can also present significant threats to the environment, heritage sites, and indigenous communities, if not managed properly.

With continuing efforts to promote Philippine tourism, coupled by strong support from online media, local governments are faced with the difficult challenge of maintaining a competitive edge whilst balancing economic development gains and environmental sustainability. In order to tackle these issues and address future challenges, the Philippine Councilors League (PCL) organized the Luzon Island Congress with the theme “Tourism and Sustainability: Best Practices and Impacts on Cultural Identity and Environment”. The event was held on 6-8 May 2015 at the Baguio City Convention Center and was attended by around 600 councilors from different parts of Luzon.

Ms. Catherine Diomampo, ICLEI Southeast Asia Secretariat Project Officer, shared a presentation on “Paving the Way for Sustainable Tourism”. The presentation focused on exploring the relationship between tourism and sustainable development, defining sustainable tourism and differentiating it from traditional tourism and ecotourism. The presentation underlined the role of local governments in forwarding sustainable tourism and presented a three-step approach, as well as 12 key considerations, in the planning/agenda-setting of a sustainable tourism program. In closing, the participating councilors were challenged to pursue sustainable tourism in their local governments and they were called to join ICLEI’s movement to promote sustainable development.

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This article appears in LOGOS No. 5 (July 2015), quarterly newsletter of ICLEI SEAS.
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Ms. Catherine Diomampo of ICLEI SEAS receives a plaque of appreciation from the PCL. (Click photo for larger view.)