Coron tour operators recently presented their famed island town at a green travel mart and selling expo to promote its ecological destinations and network with advocates and leaders.

The town, which is renowned all over the world for Kayangan and Barracuda lakes, towering limestones, and World War II-era wreck diving, is currently taking part in the 1st International Ecotourism Travel Mart 2023 (IETM 2023 IYE+20) that began on March 29 and will conclude on April 2 in Silang, Cavite.

Al Linsangan, the operator of Calamianes Expeditions & Ecotours, expressed mixed feelings about attending the ecotourism travel mart hosted by the Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN), a regional initiative of the Global Ecotourism Network (GEN).

“With my wife and general manager of our tour company, Mae Linsangan, we are very proud to be part of the 1st International Ecotourism Travel Mart because this is a historic event and a milestone,” he said.

From left: Al and Mae Linsangan of the Calamianes Expeditions & Ecotours and Darayonan Lodge owner Chin Fernandez.

“There are many (should I say) ‘generic’ tourism fairs and events, but this one is so focused on ecotourism that’s why other exhibitors from other Asian countries are also here to promote their ecotours,” he added.

Other ecotourism-related businesses in the travel fair were Coron Natural Farms, Kingfisher Park, Darayonan Lodge, and My Blue Backpack.

According to Linsangan, it is significant for eco-tour operators to be able to participate in this green travel fair to assist in promoting and enhancing the tourism business of not just the town of Coron, but also the entire province of Palawan.

The IETM 2023 is also organized by the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST) and co-sponsored by the Department of Tourism (DOT). More than 20 nations are represented by industry leaders in the event.

On the first day, DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco spoke, emphasizing the need of sustainability in the Philippine tourist sector.

“Tourism can no longer just be about the numbers or quantity but rather quality, and that is why events such as this that highlight the importance of sustainability are a gift not only to the Philippines but to the world.” Frasco said.

Part of the event were a two-day ecotourism summit, a travel market exhibition for travel and tour operators, and a marketplace where regional ecotourism businesses can showcase their best products with the theme “Embracing Authentic Ecotourism: An Ecotourism Festival.”