“[Masungi Georeserve] is a fine example of hope in the country,” says Dr. David Newsome, an international expert on natural area tourism, wildlife tourism and geotourism from Murdoch University in Perth, Australia.
“There is a lot of misunderstanding on ecotourism in the Philippines,” Dr. David Newsome said as he opened the panel discussion at AIM’s Sustainable and Integrated Practices Forum in Discovery Primea, Makati City on September 20, 2017. “[But] Masungi Georeserve ticks all boxes: visitor management, limited development, community involvement,” he added. “It is an example that needs to be put forward.”
The remarks came Masungi Georeserve presented its case on sustainable and integrated practices to an audience composed of representatives from the academe, industry and government.
Ann Dumaliang, Masungi Georeserve’s project manager presented “A Sustainable Tourism Framework for Geopark Development: The Case of Masungi Georeserve” which focuses on the unique practices implemented in the georeserve.
It also focused on the framework of the Masungi Geopark Project, a joint effort by the DENR and Masungi Georeserve Foundation to restore denuded lands around the world-famous georeserve and work for its accreditation as a UNESCO Global Geopark.
Another panelist, former DTI and DepEd Secretary and now Chairman of the Asia Institute of Management – Dr. Andrew L. Tan Centre for Tourism Jesli Lapus shared the similar remarks on the georeserve’s model. “There is hope for tourism – inspired, committed and led by the next generation. We need more like them. Keep it up!”
Mr. Richard Philip Gonzalo from the Institute of Tourism of UP Diliman reflected that sustainability is defined by the context of each area, including the people and culture, the landscape and the people behind the sustainability efforts.
Besides Masungi Georeserve, other presenters included Dr. John Paul Rivera and Ms. Eylla Laira Gutierrez from AIM’s Centre for Tourism, as well as El Nido Resorts as represented by its Director for Sustainability Ms. Marigold L. Laririt.
Mr. Fernando Martin Y. Roxas, Executive Director of the Center for Tourism, ended the day with a call for government and leaders to recognize tourism as a prime engine for development.
The AIM Center for Tourism was established in 2012 with a goal to assist and uplift tourism industries through research, educational programs and conferences. These activities are designed to ensure sustainable tourism development in the Philippines and the rest of Asia.