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Subic Ecotourism Festival 2017


By Bernard L. Supetran, May 7, 2017

THE world’s top ecotourism experts will gather in the Philippines for the first Subic Ecotourism Festival set from May 29 to June 1, in line with the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) declaration of 2017 as the “International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development”.

Set at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center, it is the biggest of its kind in the Philippines. The event will highlight ecotourism, a vital concept in the booming industry in biodiversity-rich countries.

Organized by the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST) and the Department of Tourism, the highlight of the event is a forum that will bring together leaders of the Global Ecotourism Network (GEN) and its regional subsidiary, the Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN).

Leading the powerhouse cast of international speakers are GEN Chairman Glenn Jampol and vice chairman Tony Charters, as well as general board members Robert Holmes of Australia, Hitesh Mehta of Kenya, Masaru Takayama of Japan, Nabil Tarazi of Jordan and Albert Teo of Malaysia.

Jampol, the former president of the Costa Rican Ecotourism Association and owner of Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort, is one of the authors of the Certification for Sustainable Tourism program in 1998.
Charters, a founding director of Ecotourism Australia and a member of its board since 1999, also serves in the AEN. An environmental scientist and urban and regional planner, he is a recipient of an Order of Australia by the Governor General for his work in ecotourism.

Holmes is the founder and chief strategist of Green Living Project Films, the leading content marketing agency dedicated to authentic storytelling and digital content within the travel industry. He has spearheaded partnerships with global travel brands, including National Geographic, UNWTO, Global Sustainable Tourism Council and Columbia Sportswear.

Mehta, an eco-landscape architect, is an authority in ecolodges having written several books on the subject. He has worked extensively with indigenous communities around the world to help alleviate poverty and protect the fragile ecosystem. Last year he went to the Philippines to facilitate the country’s first-ever ecolodge conference held in Subic.

Takayama is the founder of Japan’s Ecolodge Association and AEN, which promotes nature and community-based sustainable tourism and ecolodging industry by creating a multistakeholder triple-bottom line platform. He owns the ecotravel agency Spirit of Japan Travel in Kyoto, and has judged various tourism recognitions, including the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, the World Travel and Tourism Council’s World Legacy Awards and National Geographic’s Responsible Tourism Awards, among others.

Tarazi founded EcoHotels in 2009 to create unique experiences for travelers in natural settings. He partnered with the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature to manage the only ecolodge in Jordan, the Feynan Ecolodge. Under his leadership, Feynan received international awards, including a selection by National Geographic Traveler as one of the world’s best 25 ecolodges.

Sabah-based Teo is president of the award-winning Borneo Eco Tours and Sukau Rainforest Lodge. He established the Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies, which received the UNWTO Ulysses Award for excellence and innovation. He has served as the Sabah Chapter chairman of the Malaysian Association of Tours and Travel Agents, chairman of the Sabah Tourist Association and as an advisor to the International Ecotourism Society.

Other foreign keynote speakers are Conservation Ecology Center-Australia CEO Lizzie Corke, Australian Small Scale Offerings Board International Australia CEO Paul Niederer, Vietnam’s Sapa O’Chau Founder and Director Tan Thi Su, Travel Impact Newswire Executive Editor Imtiaz Muqbil, Mahidol University International College Assistant Dean Kaetwa Muangasame, Bond Asian Ventures Limited Chairman Greg Duffel, Indecon Indonesia Director Ary Suhandi and Global Sustainable Tourism Council CEO Randy Durband.

Complementing the forum are government sector local speakers, such as Department of Environment and National Resources (DENR) Biodiversity Management Bureau Director Teresa Mundita Lim, National Commission on Culture and the Arts-School of Living Traditions Executive Director Rico Pableo Jr., National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Socioeconomic and Special Affairs Director Marie Grace Pascua, Asean Centre for Biodiversity Executive Director Roberto Oliva and Cebu Provincial Tourism Officer Boboi Costas.

Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines (PAL) SVP for Operations Ismael Augusto Gozon and El Nido Resorts Head of Sustainability Mariglo Laririt will share best practices from the private sector.

Session topics will cover 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.

Tourism Undersecretary Silvino Tejada of the newly created Farm, Faith and Ecotourism portfolio, who will also be among the speakers, said the gathering would help create a resolution for ecotourism stakeholders in the country.

Participants will conduct a case study for the development or improvement of an ecotourism project in the Subic free port area.

The event’s project director is ISST President Mina Gabor, a former tourism secretary who promoted ecotourism during her tenure and made it a byword in the industry years later.

The confab is designed for government policy-makers, infrastructure development executives, tourism, travel and hospitality professionals, as well as faculty members and students. Supporting the event are the Tourism Promotions Board, the DENR, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and Philippine Airline as official carrier. Call ISST at (02) 832-0996, 834-2996 or e-mail events.isstphilippines@gmail.com for details.

Emailcast to close to 10,000 online guests worldwide:

Department of Tourism - Region III (Central Luzon)
G/F Marlim Mansions Hotel Bldg., Diamond Subd., Balibago, Angeles City, PHILIPPINES
Phone: (63 45) 625-8525
Email: tourismregion3@gmail.com
Recipient: PATA Gold Intl Award 2001, Kalakbay Natl Award 2001, ASEANTA Intl Award 2002 for Best Ecotourism Project
Log on: www.visitmyphilippines.com


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