Philippine govt. encourages tourism sector to ‘go green’

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DOT Coral

MANILA — The Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) is seeking an 80 percent increase on tourism-related establishments "going green" in the next 10 years, as the agency committed to take part in further promoting sustainable tourism in the country in line with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) tourism goals.

On the sidelines of the ASEAN Tourism Standards Awarding Ceremony in Manila, Danilo Intong, director for DOT Office of Tourism Standards and Regulation, said at present, less than 10 percent tourism accommodation establishments are accredited and recognized for their eco-friendly operations.

"In the next (ten) years, it should be 80 percent, not only staying in an area that's green, but including the food that is green," he told reporters in the event.

Asked how older establishments will be able to convert, Intong believes there are actually "very few things" to reconstruct.

With issues on power and energy in the country, "going green" through use of solar power was one example,” he said.

To further encourage establishments and service providers to follow its advocacy, the tourism department seeks to enforce the "Progressive Accreditation System" for all tourism partners, a grading system akin to the "star ratings" on hotels.

"We are categorizing it into three - the basic, the regular, and the premium," he said, saying establishments such as theme parks, food parks and even transient houses should undergo accreditation processes.

Intong said the system was "actually voluntary" in nature, but Republic Act 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009 provides that "there should be mandatory accreditation for all facilities."

Under the National Tourism Development Plan 2016-2022, the agency aims to develop destinations and products in the Philippines that are both inclusive and sustainable.

The Philippines has seen the consistent growth in tourist arrivals from the Middle East. In 2016, the Philippines received a total of 83,546 tourists from the region, growing by 9.69% over 2015. Tourist arrivals from Saudi Arabia and UAE, the two largest markets out of the region for the Philippines, reached 50,884 and 16,881 respectively.

The DOT aims to achieve 100,000 tourists from the Middle East by the end of 2018 and proactively developing strategic partnerships with key stakeholders in the Middle East to capture a sizeable percentage of its high-yield tourist market. — SG


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