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PIA Press Release

Youth grassroots ecotourism program launched in Davao

by RG Alama

Davao City (5 December) -- Local communities in ecotourism sites will now get the access to livelihood opportunities by exploring and utilizing the tourism potentials of their community's eco-attractions.

With the mandate of President Gloria Macapagal to promote and safeguard the country's eco-tourism sites through the provision of essential services for tourists, the Grassroots Entrepreneurs for Eco-Tourism or GREET was conceived.

Under the program, GREET would provide P50,000 to P100,000 blocks worth of grants to deserving groups or individuals with preference to be extended to young entrepreneurs with feasible entrepreneurial/business proposals in eco-tourism sites in the country.

"We have many youth who wanted to be explorers, guides, trailblazers. Through this fund we will realize their dream of coming up with brochures and websites that will generate interest in undiscovered treasures that dot our beautiful land." President Arroyo said in her memorandum to Secretary Durano, which mandated the implementation of the novel eco-tourism program last March 17, 2006.

The program according to the Department of Tourism reflects the genuine concern of the President to extend livelihood opportunities to young entrepreneurs by providing seed/start up capital for aspiring young entrepreneurs in key eco-tourism sites.

Aimed at developing and promoting eco-tourism spots in the country, the GREET program is under the stewardship of the Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano's "tourism with a heart campaign."

The tourism grassroots approach is touted to be an effective socio-economic mechanism responsive to forging a balanced eco-tourism environment and preserving cultural heritage thereby resulting to favorable improvement in national economy and community.

GREET also encourages the development of small and medium entrepreneurships that are engaged in tourism-related businesses and services that explore local ingenuity and creativity. It is also designed to spur economic growth that would sustain the maintenance of eco-tourism sites. The DOT XI will be holding an Ecotourism General Assembly on Dec. 5, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the SM Davao Entertainment Plaza to tackle the 2006 Ecotourism Development Mountaineering and Cave Guidelines and the GREET program. (PIA XI) [top]

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