The island-province of Cebu will be the venue for this year’s 5th World Ecotourism Conference, according to a statement released by the Department of Tourism (DOT)
Aside from touring Cebu, the participants of the conference will be toured around the nearby island of Bohol to showcase examples of thriving marine ecotourism spots.
Optional tours will include whale shark interaction in Oslob, Cebu and a visit to the Puerto Princesa, Underground River in Palawan.
With the theme, “Marine and Coastal Ecotourism: Oceans of Uncertainties, Waves of Opportunities,” the conference which will be held Feb 20 to 22 will discuss the impacts of ecotourism activities linked to the seas.
Among these ecotourism activities are whale and shark watching, snorkelling, scuba diving, and recreational fishing.
The DOT statement indicated that the conference will also tackle the socio-economic aspects of the industry such as development of destinations and management of marine ecotourism spots, among others.
Also, representatives from government, industry, civil society, and academia from all over the world are expected to discuss development and sustainability of industries linked to marine and coastal ecotourism.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said that this was the chance for the Philippines to take the lead in involving local communities and government units in conservation work, especially that the livelihood of many Filipinos are linked to the seas.
“Responsible stewardship is key to making our destinations more fun,” Jimenez said.
“Our goal is to be one of the successful tourism-powered economies practicing responsible, ethical, and sustainable tourism,” he added.
Jimenez also welcomed the participation of tourism and environment officials from ASEAN to reinforce the region’s common resolve to cooperate on ecotourism development in Southeast Asia.
The 5th World Ecotourism Conference is co-organized by the Department of Tourism and DISCOVERYMICE of Malaysia and endorsed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization. (Azer N. Parrocha/FPV/PNA)