Legarda Lauds El Nido Award, Urges Incentives System for Ecotourism

April 14, 2013

The Department of Tourism (DOT) should establish an incentive-based system of best practices for ecotourism development among the country’s resorts and ecotourism destinations to make their service globally competitive and at the same time environment-friendly.

The call was made by Sen. Loren Legarda after El Nido Resorts (ENR), a cluster of four eco-resorts in Bacuit Bay in Palawan, won the Tourism for Tomorrow Award (TTA) during the recent 13th annual World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit held in Abu Dhabi. It was recognized for best practices in sustainable tourism in four categories—Destination Stewardship Award, Conservation Award, Community Benefit Award and the Global Tourism Business Award.

“I laud El Nido for this achievement, for showing the whole world that it can engage in development while protecting the country’s biodiversity and natural wonders,” Legarda, a leading environmentalist, said.

She said El Nido’s success could be emulated elsewhere in the country with the DOT establishing a system of best practices so that resorts and other ecotourism destinations could undertake world-class development without destroying their areas’ natural wonders.

Legarda said there must be incentives for resorts and other tourist destinations which have active plans to maintain and sustain the environmental state in their jurisdictions, just like what the late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo did for local government units (LGUs) with good housekeeping plans.

She said the incentives, to be determined and drawn up by the DOT and other appropriate government agencies, would be the inducement to motivate these resorts and other ecotourism destinations to embark on environment-friendly development plans and practices.

Legarda said local resorts and tourist spots can offer outdoor activities, adventure and nature-related attractions provided that the destinations display friendliness to the environment.

Earlier, Legarda has hailed the government’s plan to boost ecotourism through a partnership project between the DOT and Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

She said the Philippines has already been hailed as the World’s Center of Marine Biodiversity – the epicentre of biodiversity and evolution. However, the country is also one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots, with a large number of species either endangered or threatened of extinction.

“It is sad to note that the unique biodiversity that our country is greatly blessed with is deeply threatened by the irresponsible acts of man. But I am hopeful that this partnership project between the DENR and DOT will promote the natural attractions in our country while ensuring environmental conservation and sustainable development,” Legarda added.