By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY—With the six-month closure of Boracay Island, the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Western Visayas region is shifting the focus on programs that can balance environmental and social sustainability of tourist destinations.
DOT-6 Regional Director Helen Catalbas said DOT recently inked an agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the Biodiversity Partnerships Project (BPP).
“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”, Catalbas emphasized.
“We do not want to happen to other tourist destinations the situation that happened in Boracay,” Catalbas added.
Boracay geographically belongs to Western Visayas region.
Aside from inking an agreement with DENR, DOT-6 has also conducted several trainings for tourism stakeholders. It includes seminars and workshops for tourism innovation techniques; farm tourism; tour guiding; and community eco-guides.
DOT-6 also has a partnership with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-6) for the Tourism Road Infrastructure Program (TRIP). With a P30.9-billion allocation, TRIP will make travel easier to destinations in Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental provinces.