The world’s first green travel mart to be held in the Philippines is firmly on track with Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco citing it as a clear path in transforming “tourism with sustainability as a bedrock” principle.
Frasco has affirmed the vital support of the Department of Tourism (DOT) for the International Ecotourism Travel Mart (IETM) set on March 29-April 2, 2023, in Silang, Cavite, in which 25 nations are to participate.
The IETM is presented by the Asian Ecotourism Network, the Asian initiative of the Global Ecotourism Network based in Washington, DC, and is organized by the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST).
It is cohosted by the DOT, Asean Centre for Biodiversity, Municipality of Silang, Department of Trade and Industry, Tourism Promotions Board, PhilExport, and Philippine Airlines.
‘Way of life’
Frasco met with ISST officials Dr. Mina T. Gabor (chair and president), Dr. Alma de Leon (vice president), and Mike Guioguio (director) at her office to discuss the principles of authentic ecotourism. Gabor and de Leon are former secretaries of tourism and social welfare, respectively.
She described her call for sustainability as neither lip service nor a motherhood statement “but a way of life” given the devastating impact of climate change. She raised the importance of “actualizing theories” on attaining sustainability and averting climate change and noted the learnings and sharing of best practices that can result from the IETM.
The DOT is to showcase the Philippines’ ecotourism destinations at the IETM exhibit. Other notable exhibit features are the ACB Pavilion that presents heritage parks in Asean, the Tribal Pavilion prepared by Indigenous communities, and Green Technologies for various products and services with strong eco-components.
A key event in the IETM is the two-day Ecotourism Forum on best practices and the ways to protect nature and biodiversity while ensuring that Indigenous communities benefit from the gains of ecotourism enterprises. Experts from all over the world will serve as speakers and panelists.
Silang Mayor Alston Kevin Anarna said that it is an honor for his municipality to be the site of the global undertaking, and that its people are committed to do their part to help achieve the IETM’s goals.
Cultural numbers from Silang will be presented.
Organizers said families visiting the 5-day event are assured of not only learning and values-shaping activities but also bonding amid delightful features including the DOT Butterfly Garden, wild bird tours, and lush greenery.