A forum on nature-based tourism was held Thursday by the city government of Puerto Princesa and the Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) of the United States Assistance for International Development (USAID) that discussed that need to maintain and enhance the biodiversity in different tourism areas.
SURGE is a special project of USAID that assists cities and adjacent areas to plan effectively, guarantee basic public services, reduce business transaction costs, promote competitiveness, support sustainable development, and reduce disaster and climate change risks while ensuring inclusive and sustainable growth.
Cecilia Baloy-Isubal, City Program Coordinator of USAID-SURGE Project, said that the forum was aimed at connecting biodiversity and tourism considering that the latter is the major industry of the city.
“We want to make sure that while we do this activity napo-protektahan ang ating natural resources. Basically, ang gusto nating manyari ay magkaroon ng awareness ang ating tourism sector on the importance of biodiversity and at the same time helping the city government in advocating this by ensuring that this will be mainstreamed in the policies of the city government,” Isubal said.
Isubal said that there is a need to constantly educate tourism stakeholders about the importance of biodiversity to deepen understanding of the need to protect it as the main source of livelihood of the city.
She said that the community-based sustainable tourism (CBST) areas are also critical in terms of biodiversity conservation because the organizations managing these areas are the ones tasked in ensuring its protection.
“While we do initiatives on CBST, merong kailangan na internalization that they also need to manage it,” she said.
The forum was held in conjunction with the celebration of Subaraw Biodiversity Festival was held at Astoria Palawan in Brgy. San Rafael. It was attended by different tourism stakeholders.
The topics of discussion were focused on the global and regional trends and opportunities affecting nature-based tourism and biodiversity; State of Palawan Environment; Conservation Management Lens in Sustainable Tourism; Managing Puerto Princesa Biodiversity Corridor; Tourism Consumer and Biodiversity; Tourism and Biodiversity Conservations Linkages and Disconnect; Enforcement of environmental laws in the management of nature-based tourism among others.