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PIA Press Release

RPDEV pushes sustainable tourism development in RP

Davao City (23 February) -- The Ramos Peace and Development (RPDEV) Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of peace and development in the Philippines, is opening the year with a continuing series of conferences on sustainable tourism development with planned stops across the country.

Dubbed "Eco-Mismo", the landmark road show project of RPDEV Chairman and former President Fidel Ramos aims to help various locales in the country position themselves as top eco-tourism destinations and share best practices in eco-productivity. Eco-Mismo will be making its way to the Visayas with scheduled stops in Cebu and Bohol this January.

The Sarangani leg of Eco-Mismo is set to take place on February 19 at the Lemlunay Dive Resort in the municipality of Maasim. At the meet, participants will be taking part in workshops on investment promotion, tourism product development, and the preservation of the province's natural and cultural heritage, to be led by experts working in each of the three fields. Workshop outputs will be shared and presented to local tourism stakeholders from both the public and private sectors.

In addition, leading figures in the Philippine tourism industry are scheduled to talk about such relevant themes as the challenge of climate change and tourism, the role of government and private organizations in eco-tourism development, and the current state of tourism in Sarangani.

The South Cotabato leg of Eco-Mismo meanwhile will be held on January 20 at the ProTech Center in Koronadal City. The conference will likewise feature talks on issues relevant to tourism in the province, including established best practices for tourism in South Cotabato, environmental conservation, and case studies of successful eco-tourism efforts. The outputs of the Sarangani workshops will also be shared.

Eco-Mismo paves the way for a cross-section of industry players and multi-sectoral stakeholders to discuss problems and map out solutions on matters concerning eco-tourism, eco-productivity, and sustainable development. It seeks to promote green travel through eco-productivity ? a practical solution that pushes efficient and productive use of resources, environmental protection, and poverty eradication.

The series of conferences comes amid growing concerns over climate change and the recent global financial crisis that has exacerbated problems in the country's tourism industry. According to a 2009 survey by the World Economic Forum, the Philippines' overall ranking in travel and tourism dropped from 81st place in 2008 to 86th place in 2009.

Scheduled speakers at the Mindanao stops include former President Ramos, Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes of South Cotabato, Gov. Miguel Dominguez of Sarangani, and Mayor Aniceto Lopez, Jr. of Maasim, Sarangani; as well as World Wildlife Fund-Philippines Vice Chairman Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan; Usec. Oscar P. Palabyab of the Department of Tourism (DOT); DOT Regional Director Martin Varela; Mindanao Economic Development Council Chairman Virgilio Leyretana, Sr.; El Nido Resorts Vice President Mariglo Laririt. Asia Pacific Projects President Narzalina Lim; and Lim, who is a former Secretary of the Department of Tourism, is also serving as the conference chairperson.

The Eco-Mismo Series is organized by RPDEV in partnership with the Department of Tourism, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Asia Pacific Projects, APO/DAP, the HERMA Group, GO Sarangani, and the Mindanao Economic Development Council. Additional support will be provided by the Provincial Government of South Cotabato for the Koronadal leg, and by the Provincial Government of Saragani for the Maasim stop. (SIO) [top]

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