DOT, LGUs work to prevent strain on tourism sites

THE Department of Tourism (DOT) is working with local government units (LGUs) and host communities to protect the country’s tourism jewels by defining the carrying capacity of each destination.

In her recent visit to Cebu, DOT undersecretary Alma Rita Jimenez said aside from working aggressively to hit the arrivals target of 12 million foreign visitors by 2022, the DOT is implementing programs that aim to preserve and protect nature-based tourism.

She said defining the carrying capacity of destinations would help avoid straining the tourism spots.

“We want to avoid overcrowding and unmitigated use to make the country’s tourism destination sustainable and flourish in the longer term,” said Jimenez during the Tourism Congress hosted by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “We believe that profit and purpose can be integrated beautifully.”

Jimenez also disclosed that the agency is actively working with the concerned agencies on climate change awareness in host communities. Likewise, the agency is opening investment opportunities on nature-based tourism among the private sector to provide livelihood for challenged communities to lure new foreign markets.

The recently released implementing rules and regulations of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority that offer fiscal and non-fiscal incentives will boost private sector participation either in closing the gap of hotel rooms or building the next top tourist destination in the country, Jimenez noted.

The DOT official also announced the department’s strong support for the adoption of green technology in tourism establishments like hotels.

“We have started implementing the standards for green hotels,” said Jimenez.

A green hotel or eco hotel is a hotel or accommodation that has valued the importance of the environment. It continually implements environmental improvements to its structure in order to minimize its negative impact on the environment. These hotels are also referred to as environmentally responsible lodging that follows the practices of green living.

Aggressive Asean

In recent years, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has been aggressive in its advocacy of recognizing hotels and resorts adopting environmentally friendly principles.

Last year, the economic bloc awarded 10 properties from the Philippines that had adopted sound and environmentally conscious operations during the 5th Asean Green Hotel Award.

Half of these recognized properties are from Central Visayas: Amarela Resort, Amorita Resort and Bellevue Resort, all in Panglao, Bohol; Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort, Cebu; and Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan, Cebu.
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