MIMAROPA Pushes for "Philippines' Eco-Tourism Star" Tag

Tourism stakeholders in MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) are pushing to make the region the country's ultimate eco-tourism destination to help generate sustainable economic development without jeopardizing their natural resources.

”We pledged our commitment to promote and support efforts on developing and managing eco-tourism in the region and making Mimaropa the premier tourist destination in the Philippines,” said City Tourism Officer Rebecca Labit, who arrived in the city from the first regional eco-tourism summit for Region IV-B held in Metro Manila.

Labit said private and public sectors pledged in joining forces for the undertaking, noting managing resources “entails strong collaboration in terms of sharing of resources among stakeholders.”

”We understand that there is a need to manage natural resources efficiently for equitable allocation and sustainable use, cross-cutting among sectors, in order to maintain present gains being experienced by the tourism sector,” Labit explained.

Mimaropa has some of the country’s outstanding natural wonders.

Such natural wonders include:

* Oriental Mindoro’s world-famous Puerto Galera beach and the endemic mammal called tamaraw (scientific name ‘bubalus mindorensis’)

* Occidental Mindoro’s internationally famous diving mecca Apo Reef Natural Park

* Marinduque’s Bathala Caves

* Romblon’s Mt. Guiting-Guiting

* Palawan’s Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park and the Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park.

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park bears the distinction of being among the world’s new seven wonders.

Labit said the environment and tourism departments spearheaded the summit to provide a venue for discussing issues affecting tourism in Mimaropa.

"Discussions during the summit also revolved around the country’s tourism regulations, the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) and possible interventions to boost tourism in Region IV-B. Eco-tourism is part of nature tourism that government included in its tourism portfolio," Labit added.

She said the portfolio also covers cultural, sun and beach, leisure and entertainment, health and wellness, events, diving and marine sports, education as well as cruise and nautical tourism.

The declaration’s signatories acknowledged tourism has social, economic and environmental implications, she related.

”In the context of sustainable development, efforts to promote and develop the tourism industry must be in line with the objectives of inclusive growth, poverty eradication and job creation while preserving the environment,” part of the declaration read.

In the same document, stakeholders also recognized the need to “properly plan and develop eco-tourism sites in order to prevent impending threats from deterioration of natural landscapes, wildlife, water and the displacement of indigenous peoples and cultural traditions.” (Clarinda I. Catimpo/PNA/LAM/CARF/ebp)

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