DENR bats for ‘regenerative’ tourism to boost ecotourism

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
DENR bats for �regenerative� tourism to boost ecotourism
Residents and tourists enjoy their long weekend with water activities in Barangay Sabang, Baler, Aurora on October 31, 2022.
STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) pushed for a shift to “regenerative” tourism to boost the country’s ecotourism sector.

In her speech during the International Ecotourism Forum held recently in Manila, Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, who was represented by DENR Undersecretary for legal and administration Ernesto Adobo Jr., defined regenerative tourism as “leaving a place better than it was before.”

“It (regenerative tourism) goes beyond the environment and looks at the social and economic development of communities, preservation of local cultures, and protection of biodiversity. It is the understanding that everything is connected and the interactions between every stakeholder throughout the tourism value chain have impacts on each other and our ecosystems,” Yulo-Loyzaga said.

Yulo-Loyzaga emphasized the importance of transitioning toward tourism that regenerates the environment.

She noted that the country’s tourism sector faces challenges brought by climate change, extreme weather events, and slow and rapid onset hazards, which impede its potential to be a driver of environmental and cultural protection, economic progress, and social development.

According to Yulo-Loyzaga, the DENR has been at the forefront of ecotourism development through sustainable management of protected areas under the National Integrated Protected Areas System or NIPAS program.

The program promotes sustainable tourism and responsible travel to natural areas through national and localized guidelines and standards, educational conservation, and economic and social development of local communities.

“Equity is central to ecotourism. Development assistance for communities to help them leverage the economic value of their natural assets should be strengthened. Ecotourism can be a powerful tool for conservation, community development, and education, but it requires careful planning and management to ensure that it benefits both the environment and the local communities,” Yulo-Loyzaga added.

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