KEY tourism establishments in Bantayan Island have come together to meet with organic producers, makers of decors and handcrafted items from nearby municipalities and suppliers of green technologies to make their operations economically viable, environment-friendly and socially equitable.

The event was held yesterday in Ogtong Cave Resort in Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island and is an offshoot of the value chain workshops conducted in Bantayan Island where tourism stakeholders agreed to make Bantayan a sustainable tourism destination through integrating greener strategies in their operations.

According to German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) through the Promotion of Green Economic Development (ProGED) project, the whole day event covered discussions on green economy, exhibit of green technologies and business matching.

Suppliers, including farmers’ groups and women’s organizations, networked with the accommodation and restaurant operators in the island to identify their specific requirements in terms of products, quality, price and volume.

The event also mounted a green exhibit while technical inputs from suppliers of photovoltaic systems and smaller energy efficient gadgets like low flow showers and dual flush bowls to support the tourism enterprises in their efforts to green their businesses.

GIZ said most of the enterprises underwent an energy audit last year with the support

of the ProGED Project and technicians from the Cebu Technological University Affiliated Renewable Energy Center (CTU AREC).

The ProGED Project also supported a series of workshops and dialogues with the tourism stakeholders in Bantayan Island to support the development of its tourism sector.

Earlier, Volher Steigerwald, GIZ project manager of ProGED said it is time for Filipino enterprises to include environmental practices in their business to get a good share of the growing green economy.

Steigerwald said the future competitive edge of the Philippines as a nation will depend on how green and climate resilient the locality is.

In a separate interview, Judilyn Quiachon, senior tourism officer of the Department of Tourism (DOT 7), said the DOT has been actively involved in linking the Cebu tourism establishments to communities that produce goods to boost local procurement.

“This initiative aims to reduce carbon footprint as tourism establishments can source their requirements within their locality. It reduces emissions as travel or transit of goods need not to be that far. This also helps boost livelihood and employment in the locality,” said Quiachon.

The ProGED Project is a development cooperation project jointly implemented by GIZ nd Department of Trade and Industry and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) with the aim of increasing the competitiveness of micro, small and medium enterprises by adopting environment friendly and climate smart growth strategies.

The project runs for three years, from January 2013 to December 2015. It is led by Steigerwald, who is also collaborating with several government agencies, special development cooperation projects and local government units to ensure synergy and leveraging of resources in facilitating sustainable development in Bantayan Island.