DOT urged to promote ‘responsible tourism’

MANILA — “The Department of Tourism and its attached agencies should not only be concerned with the promotion of the country’s tourist spots but also their protection.”

Sen. Nancy Binay made this remark Thursday following reports of complaints from residents and environmental advocates about garbage left behind by tourists in the country’s 24/7 island, Boracay.

Binay, chair of the Senate Committee on Tourism, urged the agency to step up in its efforts to care for natural attractions through a campaign that will teach tourists about the values of caring for the environment.

She stressed that it is within the DOT’s mandate to preserve natural attractions and take appropriate actions to stop the destruction of the environment and its negative impacts on communities.

In addition, she said that an information drive could also encourage tourists to take a second look at the exploitative impact of mega-events on tourist destinations such as Boracay.

“Commercialization of nature coupled with unethical practices and irresponsible tourism are ingredients to ‘ecocide’ that have an exploitative impact on the environment and communities,” Binay said in a statement.

“We know that tourism campaigns work because hyped up and greatly commercialized events have managed to draw thousands to these shores. But this time, I hope that we can work together in calling for the promotion of responsible tourism,” she added.

The senator further said that the DOT should convince organizers and tourists to be responsible for their actions and comply with the conditions set by local government units.

She cautioned that without intervention, the same could happen to other destinations in the country that have recently been cited in international travel publications citing Puerto Galera and Baguio City’s trash problems.

The DOT, for its part, vowed to continue to coordinate with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to assure that the country’s natural attractions remain preserved and protected. Azer Parrocha/