Encouraging Sustainable Tourism, one story of hope at a time

by: Joseph Pirkko Cos Alcantara, MBA

Global travel is set to increase by up to 35% until 2025 according to a recent study by Visa and Oxford Economics. This influx of traffic in all modes of transportation has even led Visa to coin a new term, the “Travelling Class” – consumers who don’t consider travel as luxury, but rather a part of life. https://www.lonelyplanet.com/news/2016/06/21/international-travel-increase-next-decade/

 

While this is good news for the travel industry, the same cannot be said for the environment. A report issued by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says the earth will get hotter by 1.5 degrees in 2030, which will translate to severe natural catastrophes much more worse than what the world is experiencing now. There might come a time that the likes of Typhoon Haiyan may be a normal occurrence all over the world.


Scientists, however, say this can be avoided; if us humans become more mindful of carbon emissions. So, how
can the “Travelling Class” continue their vacations while being considerate to the environment?

 

 

Fortunately, there is a rising trend in travel called EcoTourism, and Pirkko & Troy Tours, Inc., together with ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya’s Bantay Kalikasan, along with the support of Tourism Promotions Board-Philippines, specifically, Mr. James Sy, Officer-In-Charge of International Promotions Department – ASEAN and the Pacific Division; Ms. Monica Sta. Ana, also of the International Promotions Department – ASEAN and the Pacific Division; Mr. Charles Leong, Marketing Director to Singapore for the Philippine Department of Tourism; and last but not the least, Ms. Charmaine Yeong, Marketing Executive for the Philippine Department of Tourism – are all bannering responsible vacationing in Asia’s largest Travel Business-To-Business (B2B) meet-up of 2018 – the Internationale Tourismus Börse (ITB) Asia Edition, held in Singapore from 17-19 October 2018.

Intrigue was built up throughout the three (3) days, as some travel professionals around the world were surprised at the term. Volunteer tourism was known, but EcoTourism offered leisure travel with the environment and welfare of locals, specifically in the Philippines, on the spotlight.

Through tabletop meetings, speed networking, casual conversations and incidental engagements, interest in the Philippines shot up amongst around two hundred travel professionals in different backgrounds, from thirty (30) different countries, and it is hoped that the stories of hope shared from different communities of Bantay Kalikasan sowed interest in tourism to the Philippines, and towards marginalized communities earning an honest sustainable living, in the beautiful places they live in. Hopefully, the stories shared will have a trickle down effect on the global tourism industry. After all, a story of hope can ignite fires of change when needed the most.

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