The United Nations World Tourism Organization has declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development to highlight ecotourism, a vital concept in the booming industry in biodiversity-rich countries.
In line with this global observance, the International School of Sustainable Tourism, together with the Department of Tourism, are spearheading the Subic Ecotourism Festival set on May 29 to June 1 at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center.
The biggest of its kind in the country, the core of the event is a forum that brings together the leaders of the Global Ecotourism Network, and its regional subsidiary, the Asian Ecotourism Network.
According to ISST president Mina Gabor, the event is a rare opportunity for delegates to learn from and network with the best practitioners in the industry.
“Given the Philippines’ tourism industry is driven largely by its natural attractions, it is important to balance economic benefit, conservation and respect for local communities which the GEN board members are greatly recognized for,” she enthused.
She said the event comprises of an exhibition on ecotourism sites in the country and share best practices on ecotourism from international experts in the field.
Leading the powerhouse cast of international speakers are Glenn Jampol and Tony Charters, GEN chair and vice-chair respectively, and general board members Robert Holmes of Australia, Hitesh Mehta of Kenya, Masaru Takayama of Japan, Nabil Tarazi of Jordan, and Albert Teo of Malaysia.
Session topics are Ecotourism Driving Sustainable Development, Ecotourism and Conservation, Innovative Investment Attraction, Business of Best Practices, Community-based Ecotourism, Ecotourism – A Natural for ASEAN, Policy and Standards, Indigenous Communities, and Marketing Ecotourism for Yield.
Participants will be conducting a case study for the development or improvement of an ecotourism project in the Subic Freeport area.