DOT to focus on sustainable tourism in WV region; Para mapromote ang cultural heritage
Promoting sustainable tourism will be the priority of the Department of Tourism, particularly in the Western Visayas region.
The DOT noted the region has beautiful beaches and a rich cultural heritage that the DOT should protect and preserve.
“The DOT believes that in order to make tourism more sustainable, we have to protect the environment. We cannot promote tourism if our tourism sites are not well-protected,” said DOT-6 Regional Director Helen Catalbas.
Catalbas recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement on Biodiversity Partnerships Project with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to ensure the protection of ecotourism spots and threatened species.
For 2018, the DOT is working with the Department of Public Works and Highways to implement the P30.9-billion Tourism Road Infrastructure Program.
Catalbas cited as an example Boracay Island, which was closed for six months for environmental rehabilitation.
She said the DOT-6 does not want what happened to Boracay to happen to other tourist destinations in the region.
“We are trying our best to protect the tourism industry, especially in Western Visayas. We are really working hard, so that it will not come to the point that we should close the tourist destination, just like what happened to Boracay,” she said.
For now, DOT-6 is conducting several trainings to the tourism stakeholders.
It mounted the Tourism Innovation and Self Re-invention Techniques seminar in Iloilo City and province, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental and Mainland Aklan.
Regular training programs of DOT Region VI include tourism awareness, Farm Tourism Regional Consultative Workshop, tour guiding, homestay seminar and continuing education for tour guides-interpretation of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
DOT Region VI also has an ongoing Community Eco-Guiding Training for Gigantes Group of Islands in Carles, Iloilo that started last July 16 and will end on July 21, 2018.