PH to host Int’l Ecotourism Mart next year

In photo at the MOU signing are (seated, from left) ACB executive director Theresa Mundita Lim, ISST president Mina Gabor, and SEARCA director Glenn Gregorio. The signing is witnessed by (standing, from left) ACB external relations and policy officer Allan Pormento, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Jesus Domingo, DOT-Calabarzon Acting Regional Director Marites Castro, ISST treasurer Miguel Guioguio, ISST finance officer Merlita Del Mundo, and SEARCA deputy director for administration Joselito Florendo.

The Philippines will take the global environmental stage once more as it plays host to the International Ecotourism Travel Mart (IETM), the world’s first-ever and biggest ecotourism-themed expo, set on March 29 to April 2, 2023 in Silang, Cavite.

International School for Sustainable Tourism (ISST) president and project proponent Mina Gabor said that the five-day fair will share best practices on ecotourism from global experts and provide networking avenues with ecotourism authorities and specialists.

Organized by the Japan-based Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN), the IETM will showcase the world’s ecotourism sites, indigenous practices and culture, and push for measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Asian Ecotourism Network president Masaru Takayama

The gathering will also bring together global delegates and exhibitors worldwide to showcase products and services that have a strong ecotourism component, green technology, and green practices.

Among the prominent personalities gracing the event are AEN president Masaru Takayama and HM Design founder Hitesh Mehta who authored a series of books on outstanding ecolodges of the world.

Expected to take part are local tourist establishments, hotel chains, local governments, corporate foundations, and private enterprises and organizations which advocate sustainable tourism, organic farming, zero waste management, and earth-friendly initiatives.

Global ecolodge expert Hitesh Mehta

“The COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed the growing awareness that nature is part of the solution to public health and environmental challenges. Thus, a regional fair that elevates the tourism sector as a leader in promoting the balance between economic development and harnessing nature as a solution to our current challenges only comes timely,” says ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) executive director Theresa Mundita Lim.

She said that as an event partner, the ACB will feature the success stories of its biodiversity conservation and livelihood programs in Southeast Asia through an interactive exhibition.

The 11-member Jakarta-based Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has declared the revival of the tourism sector as a key component in the region’s efforts in its comprehensive recovery framework.

International Institute for Rural Reconstruction

Set in 2020 at the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) in Cavite, the IETM was postponed several times due to the pandemic.

Partnering with the event are the Department of Tourism, Tourism Promotions Board, Department of Foreign Affairs, Province of Cavite, and Municipality of Silang.

In line with the event, the ISST, ACB, and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) recently forged a memorandum of understanding for the hosting of the said expo.