TWO years ago (in 2017), the world observed the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development as declared by the United Nations General Assembly back in 2015 -- evidently, a recognition of Tourism's potential in driving sustainable development. Tourism undoubtedly cuts across all other economic sectors and ultimately produces profound and wide-ranging impact across all dimensions of sustainable development. Aside from economic, tourism dips into special humanistic aspects -- culture, arts, and the spiritual.
The movement, however, specifies only one ideal tourism: "Sustainable Tourism" -- a kind of tourism that takes full account not only of the present, but of the future. A kind of tourism that does not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. A kind of tourism that respects the community and the environment. A kind of tourism that is viable, long term, and ensures fair socio-economic benefits for all stakeholders. A tourism that gives regard to socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and contribute to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance.
To further said intentions, the United Nations World Tourism Organizations established 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for government leaders and policy makers which shall be ideally cascaded to the private sector. Said Sustainable Development Goals shall serve as a guide map for the realization of the noble Tourism Agenda and even all aspects of governance and service. They are the following: No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, Reduced Inequalities, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, Life on Land, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, Partnerships for the Goals.
As our personal response (both as a government worker and private citizen), we initiated the "VolunTourism Organization," a movement that was launched last year to help in the local tourism development of the community. This is done by enlisting members of the community to help in many positive activities such as: tourism sites cleaning, in guiding visitors of the town, and assisting in tourism-related events as artists, musicians, and coordinators. The movement also inspired various groups to visit La Trinidad and render their services like tour-site mapping on potential sites, painting at StoBoSa, and plogging in our eco-sites like Mt. Yangbew. The volunteer movement is aligned with some of the mentioned Sustainable Development Goals like climate action, sanitation, and partnership for the goals.
Interested volunteers for the "VolunTourism" initiative may enlist themselves or their groups at the La Trinidad Tourism Office to participate in noble activities like: plogging or trash picking/cleaning, tree-planting, events assisting, and some artistic and musical events. Registered members of the community will also have the opportunity to be contacted for free trainings on tourism-related skills and orientations, and invitations to special events of the Municipality. They may also text their names and contact numbers at 09173071813 to be updated on upcoming VolunTourism schedule and programs.