Ilocos Sur. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism

Hotels and resorts are encouraged to adopt sustainable initiatives or green practices as a means not only to boost tourism but also to educate tourists to care for the environment. 

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has urged hotels and resorts to become DOT-accredited to receive assistance in their adoption of sustainable practices.

According to Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, DOT’s accreditation provides perks which include access to technical tools and experts that can help establishments make the transition to going green.

“Reviving the local economy and creating livelihood is DOT’s current priority. However, the pandemic has allowed us to be more persistent in our goal to instill accountability in businesses to become more sustainable,” Puyat said.

She said the DOT will continue to focus on marketing sustainability to the public, educating them on how to be sustainable tourists while also encouraging tourists to support accredited businesses that have exemplary green practices.

Community-based tourism program at The Sabang Mangrove River, Puerto Princesa, Palawan spearheaded by The Sabang Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour Guide Association Inc. [photos courtesy of the Department of Tourism]

The number one asset of tourism is the country’s natural resources, and tourism establishments have a role in conserving these, according to the DOT.

The DOT has revised the accreditation standards for hotels and resorts to incorporate environmental indicators in the star rating system of these types of accommodation establishments, aiming to encourage business owners to be more environment-friendly in their day-to-day operations.

The Tourism Act of 2009 has long served as a guide for DOT to come up with programs that would benefit the industry. 

DOT’s 2019 Save Our Spots (SOS) campaign aimed to inspire the public, businesses, and communities to have a long-term view on tourism.

Nurture Wellness Village [Photos courtesy of the Department of Tourism]

Together with departments of environment, agriculture, and interior, DOT also released a joint memorandum circular on the rules and regulations governing the conduct of marine wildlife tourism interaction in the Philippines.

The DOT conducts community-based training for the tourism workforce, including boatmen, masseuses, and souvenir vendors, to provide them with technical skills and knowledge that will help them do their jobs better.

Food waste management seminars are also offered to accommodation and restaurant owners and culinary training that aim to reintroduce heritage or local dishes to tourists.

DOT also developed the ANAHAW Philippine Sustainable Tourism Certification Awards to give recognition to accommodation establishments that reduce waste, energy consumption and water consumption.