Ecotourism in the Philippines

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Ecotourism in the Philippines is a form of sustainable tourism within a natural and cultural heritage area where community participation, protection and management of natural resources, cultural and indigenous knowledge and practices, environmental education and ethics as well as economic benefits are fostered and pursued for the enrichment of host communities and satisfaction of visitors. <ref>[1]</ref>

Ecotourism helps in sustaining the development of the country as it aims to protect our natural resources, on which the ecotourism industry depends. Ecotourism aims to minimize impact, build environmental and cultural awareness and respect, provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts, provide direct financial benefits for conservation, provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people, and raise sensitivity to host countries' political, environmental, and social climate.<ref>[2]</ref>



In 1991, the Department of Tourism (DOT) collaborated with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Tourism Organization (WTO) in preparing the Philippine Tourism Master Plan (TMP). The objective established by the TMP is the positioning of the Philippines as a world-class tourism destination under the principle of sustainable tourism development.

In 1992, a National Tourism Congress introduced “ecotourism”in the Philippines. From 1994 to 1998, a series of regional seminars were held to discuss the sustainable tourism and ecotourism concepts. In 1998, a technical workshop was held to identify the elements and define key issues of a sustainable tourism development framework.

On 17 June 1999, Executive Order (EO) 111 was issued, establishing a formal organizational structure for the development of Philippine ecotourism. It created a National Ecotourism Development Council (NEDC), composed of the Secretaries of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources, Interior and Local Government, Trade and Industry, Finance, Education, the Secretary-General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and representatives from the private sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). <ref>[3]</ref>

Under the NEDC, the following “EO 111 bodies” were established: the National Ecotourism Steering Committee (NESC) and Regional Ecotourism Committees (RECs) tasked with implementing programs and activities approved by NEDC, and the Ecotourism Technical Working Group (ETWG) which provides technical and administrative support to the NEDC and the NESC.

From the 27th to the 29th of October 1999, the first National Ecotourism Congress was held in Bohol to define ecotourism and its role in the promotion of sustainable development, management, protection and conservation of the country’s environment, natural resources and cultural heritage. <ref>[4]</ref>

Main Philippines eco-tourism sites & destinations

Ecotourism activities

  • Trekking/Mountaineering
  • Wildlife Watching
  • Scuba Diving/Snorkling
  • Caving
  • Kayaking/Rafting
  • Surfing


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