World Ecotourism Conference in Cebu
The Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have unveiled a nine-year National Ecotourism Strategy and Action Plan (NES) at the 5th World Ecotourism Conference (WEC) in Cebu City.
The launching of the NES was the highlight of the three-day international conference attended by about 400 representatives from government, civil society, private sector, and the academe from all over the world to discuss development and sustainability of industries linked to ecotourism.
Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. likened the ecotourism strategy to falling in love. The NES for 2013-2022 includes plans for sustainable management of destinations, education and awareness, involvement of local communities, development of tourism products, and improvement of tourism infrastructure, services, and human resource opportunities.
“Ecotourism is a significant tool towards environmental conservation and protection, education and changing mind-set from over-development to rational and orderly development that respects nature and its cultural attributes,” said Secretary Jimenez.
Environment Secretary Ramon Jesus Paje cited the role of the Philippines in conservation efforts as the country is part of the Coral Triangle, a centre for biodiversity also called “the Amazon of the Seas”.
Secretary Paje said the Philippines is home to 26-million hectares of coral reef, 2,000 species of fish, 500 species of stony coral – twelve of which are endemic, 16 species of seagrass, and 42 species of mangroves.