Ecotourism seen to drive tourism growth this year

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) expects ecotourism to significantly drive the industry’s growth this year as it is eyed to draw in an additional 1.5 million visitors.

Guided by the National Tourism Development Plan, DOT said it expects 1.3 million domestic and 200,000 foreign ecotourists this year.

“The push and improvement of the ecotourism industry supports the country’s thrust of introducing new sights and activities to further encourage both local and foreign tourists to visit the Philippines,” DOT Ecotourism Working Group head Warner Andrada said.

Aside from its economic benefits, ecotourism is also geared towards community participation, protection and management of natural resources, culture and indigenous knowledge and practices, and environmental education and ethics.

Andrada said there are more sites to explore in the Philippines as the DOT continues to position local tourism to be more competitive and at par with neighboring countries.

Although the Philippines is an ecotourism destination with 32 key sites identified, he lamented the number of DOT-accredited establishments and personnel remains insufficient.

DOT said it is currently reviewing the promulgated rules and regulations to assess ecotourism standards and provide policy options to ensure its efficiency and relevance to the industry.

Source: Philstar. Date: April 1, 2016