News – 13th Issue


PATA, CBI and Travelife to promote sustainability in tourism in Asia

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Travelife, and The Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) have decided to promote sustainability among tour operators and travel agents in Asia Pacific.

On May 18, 2014 in Zhuhai, China was signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Following this signing. PATA members will have access to the Travelife sustainability training and management tools so that they can integrate socially and environmentally responsible practices into company operations.

European travel associations have started a a programme that will help travel companies and their suppliers achieve sustainability through training, management, reporting and external recognition and certification.
PATA would support all members, wishing to implement socially and environmentally responsible business practices.

PATA CEO Martin Craigs said: “PATA forecasts that international visitor arrivals in Asia will grow at 6.3% per year up to 2018. With Travelife internal procedures in place, tour operators and travel agents will be able to combine growth with sustainable, measurable practices.”

CBI, an agency of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, encourages imports from developing countries by enhancing the capacity of individual companies and business support organizations.

CBI’s primary objective is to support the sustainable growth of tourism in line with its Sustainable Tourism Development PrograPATA in achieving its sustainability m Asia 2013-2017. CBI will assist objectives through training and capacity building.

Naut Kusters, Manager for Travelife for Tour operators, said: “The support of PATA and CBI for Travelife is a historic step towards a sustainable travel industry. It will spread global CSR and sustainability standards and best practices amongst Asian tour operators. It will provide direction to committed tour operators and recognition for front runners.”


Farm tourism is Philippines’ sunshine industry

The Philippines’ emerging farm tourism sector got a major push as a driver of inclusive economic growth in the Farm Tourism Conference held recently in Daet, Camarines Norte.

The three-day discussion, organized by the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST) and the province of Camarines Norte and supported by the Department of Tourism (DOT), put the spotlight on the unique combination of agriculture and tourism. Guest speaker Sen. Cynthia Villar says that farm tourism is one of the country’s sunshine industries that can be exploited because of the agricultural nature of the economy. 

ISST President and Project Director Dr. Mina Gabor says farm camps focus on low-impact travel and empowers local communities socially and economically. “Farm tourism attracts visitors and travelers to farm areas, generally for educational and recreational purposes to encourage economic activity to provide farm and community income,” she says.

This involves the community and its benefits should be distributed to stakeholders to ensure sustainable tourism and inclusive development. The gathering also showcased the successful farm camps across the country such as the Sunflower Farms in Ligao City, Albay; Rapha Valley in Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental and others.

The integration of tourism and farming allows more efficient resource utilization which can provide jobs, increase income, business opportunities and reduce urban migration.
Homestays is another potential sector in the tourism industry that can benefit people at the community level.

The Farm Tourism Conference is in line with the theme of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for this year, “Tourism and Community Development,” which emphasizes tourism’s vital role in spreading its economic fruits to the grassroots.

The gathering was attended by local government executives, municipal tourism and agricultural officers, barangay officials, entrepreneurs and community stakeholders from various provinces, which have potentials in agriculture- and rural-based tourism.


Southern Africa turns into tourism nerve centre

Zimbabwe was named the best tourist destination for 2014 by the European Council on Tourism and Trade.
Zimbabwe’s success story is one that must be shared by the rest of its neighbours in the SADC region whose calm environment synchronised with that of Zimbabwe making it possible to be accorded the prestigious title for 2014.

The region boasts of Great Zimbabwe, the second largest ancient man-made structure in Africa, Victoria Falls, one of the seven wonders of the world which is shared by Zimbabwe and Zambia, the Namib desert in Namibia, which is the only desert in the world to be inhabited by lions, elephants and rhinos.

According to Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the tourism industry in the region has grown rapidly in recent years contributing US$940 billion to the world economy in 2010, but the region has receipted only a small percentage of this figure.

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The SADC region has an edge over other parts of the region in being a favoured tourist destination in a number of ways. Firstly, the region enjoys socio-political stability which is an absentee in other parts of the continent.

This leaves the Southern African region as the only secure tourist destination on the continent hence the need to capitalise on marketing our destination to the rest of the world.

Secondly, the SADC region has two of the continent’s economic powers, South Africa and Angola, who are second and third respectively and if intra – SADC cooperation is implemented they can help with lending other less fortunate states with funding to boost tourism infrastructure.


Tourism dept uses environmental criteria in hotel-ranking system

To mitigate the impact of the tourism industry on climate change and promote sustainable tourism, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has incorporated an environmental component in its new accreditation system for hotels, resorts and other accommodations.

This, as participants in the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)-Association of Southeast Asian Nations International Conference on Tourism and Climate Change last week adopted in principle the Legazpi Declaration on Tourism’s Response to Climate Change, a significant step in the long-term battle to mitigate the effect of the tourism sector on global warming.

The declaration was adopted after a two-day conference in Legazpi City, Albay, which ended on May 20, and attracted over 600 participants from 18 countries, including global leaders, scientific exports, and representatives of local and international tourism establishments.

Tourism Assistant Secretary for Tourism Development Planning Rolando Canizal said the recent signing up of 14 tourism establishments and organizations to the UNWTO Global Ethics on Tourism “makes establishments more aware of their responsibilities toward reducing their impact on climate change.”

The Legazpi Declaration binds the conference participants to:

  • Provide clear, evidence-based information and policy guidance to national and local governments to enable them to establish, pursue and prioritize low-carbon strategies for tourism development.
  • Increase coordination among relevant agencies, NGOs, international bodies and the private sector in making tourism an instrument to accelerate the shift toward more sustainable consumption and production patterns.
  • Consider climate-change impact and vulnerability assessments within broader risk-management processes in order to develop and implement climate- resilience and -adaptation measures to minimize the impact of climate change on tourism
  • Encourage private investment, corporate responsibility and business practices consistent with socioenvironment protection and climate resilience etc.