Negros hosts nat’l confab on community-based tourism-A A +A
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
THE International School of Sustainable Tourism, in partnership with the Province of Negros Occidental, is hosting the 4th Community-Based Rural Tourism National Conference on Feb. 25 to 27 at the Garden Royale Hall of Kundutel in Bacolod.
Supervising Tourism Operations Officer Cristine Mansinares yesterday said about 300 tourism stakeholders coming from local government units, tourism organizations, academe, nongovernment organizations, and travel agencies from around the country are expected to attend.
With the theme, “Tourism and Community Development,” the three-day conference aims to improve community-based tourism especially in rural areas to strengthen the tourism potentials of the country.
Organizers said rural areas are increasingly becoming popular destination of city dwellers who want to have a taste of the countryside life—local attractions, activities, authentic rural food, and amenities in the area.
There are various natural and man-made attractions, like national landscapes, rivers, lakes, farms, and the culture of the local community, which can be harnessed for tourism enterprises.
Trekking, mountain climbing, rafting, bird-watching, fishing, agricultural practices and cooking indigenous food are also potential tourism activities, as well as cultural traditions like dances, songs, and heirlooms of the community.
But to make these attractive to visitors, some need to be enhanced and re-packaged with recreational activities, food and souvenir items.
In other words, to develop such viable tourism package, the whole community should be involved and the benefits should be well distributed to all stakeholders to ensure sustained participation and recreation, organizers explained.
Partner agencies and organizations include the Department of Tourism, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Provincial Government of Negros Occidental, Association of Tourism Officers of Negros Occidental, Philippine Retirement Authority and the Development Bank of the Philippines, in cooperation with the city government of Bacolod, Development Academy of the Philippines, and Visayan Maritime Academy. (Danny B. Dangcalan)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 19, 2014.