While it has greatly affected the local tourism industry, the ongoing pandemic should not be an excuse for not pursuing sustainability, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said during the virtual recognition of Women Champions of Sustainability hosted by The Conrad Manila.

Romulo-Puyat added that sustainability, in fact, is critical in establishing the tourism industry of the future, which should be more resilient and “pandemic-proof”.

“The DOT is pushing for tourism businesses with lower resource consumption and carbon emission impact.”

“Sustainability has always been at the core of the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) strategies, being part of the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP). The DOT is pushing for tourism businesses with lower resource consumption and carbon emission impact,” the tourism chief explained.

To achieve its goal to rebuild a more resilient tourism industry for the country, the tourism head cited the various initiatives of the DOT to promote sustainable industry practices, such as the ANAHAW Philippine Sustainable Tourism Certification, a national green certification scheme developed with the GrAT Center for Appropriate Technology under the European Union (EU) technical assistance primarily for accommodation establishments in the country.

Developed in 2018, the ANAHAW certification aims to improve the efficiency of tourism establishments and direct the Philippine tourism industry into a more sustainable future.

The DOT also initiated the ANAHAW Awards in 2018, making it the local equivalent of the ASEAN Green Hotel Awards.

She cited other initiatives such as the Sustainable Diner Program of the DOT in partnership with the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature Philippines which aims “to develop and harness sustainable consumption and production strategies by assisting the food service sector in transitioning into a low carbon industry”.

Romulo-Puyat also mentioned the Save Our Spots (SOS) campaign of the DOT, an intensive information project launched with the objective to inspire the public, businesses and communities to have a long-term view of responsible tourism.

She likewise expressed her gratitude and admiration to the advocates of heritage preservation and sustainability particularly her fellow awardee, House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda who has long been a supporter of local products and sustainability.

Romulo-Puyat added that Legarda’s inspiring work as an environmentalist and significant contribution to the Philippines ’ climate change laws is worthy of emulation.

Other recipients include SM Hotels and Conventions Corp. President Elizabeth Sy and Pasay City Mayor Imelda Calixto.

While continuing its sustainability efforts, she shared that the DOT also found ways to adapt to the evolving preferences of travelers amid the health crisis. 

“The DOT has also made good use of the quarantine time as we recalibrated our tourism products.”

“The DOT has also made good use of the quarantine time as we recalibrated our tourism products and developed new tourism circuits to adapt to the changing preferences of travelers,” Romulo-Puyat said. 

“While there are still setbacks due to the emergence of new variants of the virus, I am proud of our hospitality industry for staying the course and for bringing out innovative ideas for recovery,” she concluded.



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