Welcome Green Travel Mart

Yes, you readers read our headline right, a Global Green Travel Mart is coming! To think we’re still looked down as a top plastic polluter! (Ouch). But we are determined to put the pollution issue behind us, thanks to efforts like the Green Travel Mart happening next month.

All roads lead to Silang, Cavite where 24 nations and the visiting public will converge for the world’s first green travel mart and festival.

The International Ecotourism Travel Mart (IETM) will  be  from March 29 to April 2,  at the lush Silang, Cavite grounds of the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST), which organizes this historic travel mart, exhibit, forum, and festival, all presented by the Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN).

IETM is held in collaboration with the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity (ACB), Department of Tourism (DOT), Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), PhilExport, and Philippine Airlines (PAL).

Masaru Takayama, (second from right), who is chairperson of the Asian Ecotourism Network, the presentor of the world’s first green travel mart, is shown in photo with Department of Tourism assistant secretary Warner Andrada (rightmost) who gave Takayama a gift of books on behalf of DOT Secretary Frasco during the reception. Beside Takayama are Dr. Mina T. Gabor and Corazon Alma de Leon, president and vice president, respectively, of the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST) based in Silang, Cavite, and organizer of the IETM.

Masaru Takayama, president of the AEN, has announced that ecotourism players and advocates from other Asian countries, as well as the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Costa Rica, have confirmed their participation for this multi-faceted event with the theme “Embracing Authentic Ecotourism : An Ecotourism Festival.”

Asian participants are from Indonesia, Japan, China, Cambodia, Malaysia, India, Hong Kong, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, Korea, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Fiji, and the Philippines.

Experts, ecotourism practitioners, advocates, participants and exhibitors are expected at the IETM, a great opportunity to learn and network across cultures, according to Takayama, IETM co-chair and AEN president.

AEN is the Asian initiative of the Global Ecotourism Network, which has its headquarters in Washington DC. It provides relevant opportunities for members to work together on a regional scale. It actively seeks out channels for growth opportunities with both small and large organizations within Asia and shares among members significant information and educational materials. The Philippines is an active AEN member.

Takayama also noted the timeliness of the holding of the first IETM, which is a few months after the 20th anniversary of the first celebration of the International Year of Ecotourism set by the United Nations in 2002. “Ecotourism is the star of sustainable tourism,”he says. That much has taken place to put forward Sustainable Development Goals through the spread of best practices in ecotourism.

“Forum participants benefit from the vital sharing of noted experts, practitioners, advocates, professionals, and planners, on the beginnings, the current situation and best practices, and the future of ecotourism," says Dr. Mina T. Gabor, president of the ISST and an internationally acclaimed advocate for the practice of authentic ecotourism which conserves natural environment and uplifts the lives of communities, including indigenous groups, around the sites.

AEN sees the IETM as a “celebration to make sure that beautiful nature is passed on to the next generations to enjoy.”

Readers and travelers may log on to www.internationalecotourismtravelmart.com.

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On another issue, why is Negros Oriental congressman Arnulfo Teves being given so much leeway in coming back home and working in the Lower House again? He obtained permission to go on a personal trip early February and until now a week after his official leave has elapsed, no sign of Rep. Teves! AWOL na, di ba?

Why, doesn’t he want to come home and face accusations of murder in his rival Gov. Degamo’s case?  There are still pending criminal cases against him dating some years ago?