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Global leaders in sustainable tourism to converge in Manila


Tourism in the Philippines has steadily increased in recent years. Every year, thousands of local and foreign tourists flock to major Philippine destinations such as Boracay, El Nido, Coron, Cebu, Bohol, Siargao, among others to enjoy these places unique landscapes and social life.

But with the increase in tourist visits and tourism revenue also comes adverse impacts on the natural environment and quality of life in these tourist destinations brought about by increasing tourism development. Which is why in recent years, there have been global efforts to temper the adverse effects of tourism by advocating for sustainable tourism practices.

One of the international organizations advocating for sustainable tourism is the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), a non-profit organization composed of United Nations agencies, non-government organizations, national and local governments, leading travel companies, hotels, tour operators and individuals who all share the commitment to adopt, achieve and promote best practices in sustainable tourism.



First forum of its kind in PH

The GSTC also establishes and manages global sustainable tourism criteria that governments, communities, destination managers, hotels and tour operators comply with. These guiding principles ensure that tourism is balanced with protecting the natural environment and alleviating poverty in tourism destinations.

As the leader in the global effort to make tourism more sustainable, the GSTC conducts an annual national forum where local GSTC members, global thought-leaders and other stakeholders in tourism industry and regulation can discuss key issues, trends and practices in sustainable tourism. The forum seeks to gather some of the best sustainable tourism practices drawn from scientific research and from the practical experiences of people in the public and private sector.

This annual forum comes to the Philippines for the first time to enable local tourism stakeholders to learn from global thought-leaders and world-renowned experts in the field of sustainable tourism. The two-day GSTC Philippines National Forum will be held from March 15 to 16, 2018 at the Boracay Ecovillage Resort and Convention Center, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan.



Global thought leaders to speak

Among the big names arriving in the country to speak and share the best sustainable tourism success stories are GSTC CEO Randy Durband, GSTC country representative Susan Santos Cardenas, renowned Mexican architect and founder of Direccion Arquitectonica Arturo Amaya, and Beatriz Barreal, founder, president and CEO of Sustainable Riviera Maya in Mexico.

Durband and Cardenas are both veterans in the travel and tourism industry and are respective leaders in enabling their countries and the rest of the world abide by Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria. They will share GSTC’s global and local achievements in this arena and what more needs to be done to achieve widespread sustainable tourism.

On the issue of achieving sustainable tourism by balancing nature and the built environment, Amaya will share his experiences developing master plans for various resorts developments in Mexico and how his projects have become exemplars in sustainable tourism development. Among his projects include the Mayakoba Master Plan, Bosques de Santa Fe, Villas dela Canada, Isla Sotavento, Banyan Tree Resort and Sustainable City Playa del Carmen.

For her part, Barreal will deliver insightful anecdotes on her accomplishments in raising awareness and engaging with national and regional leaders in achieving sustainable tourism practices in Mexico’s Riviera Maya tourist region. She is an entrepreneur with 25 years of experiences in communications, branding and marketing in the tourism industry and is also GSTC’s Mexico representative as well as co-founder of Mexico Sostenible (Sustainable Mexico).

Apart from discussions and sharing of insights on sustainable tourism practices, the national forum will also include a field trip to see Boracay’s solid and water waste management practices, as well as various workshops on the challenges of implementing sustainable tourism practices and how to overcome them.


An insightful learning event

Bringing this first-of-its-kind conference on sustainable tourism to the Philippines is training and consultancy company LeadImpact Asia, whose expertise is in helping companies, organizations, government bodies and professionals improve their leadership skills and achieve their full potential through relevant and insightful learning events and programs.

Supporting LeadImpact in bringing the GSTC National Forum to the Philippines are the Society for Sustainable Tourism and Development, Inc. and the Department of Tourism, both of which are encouraging professionals in the NGO and government sector to attend and learn from the globally renowned experts in sustainable tourism.

“Through this national forum, we all hope to gather various stakeholders including tourism industry leaders, CEOs, LGUs, destination managers, tourism and hospitality professionals, NGOs and the academe to fully implement the UN World Tourism Organization’s global sustainability measures throughout the archipelago,” Anna Laxamana, managing director and owner, LeadImpact Asia.

She adds, “As a key outcome of this conference, we hope to launch various sustainable tourism training programs in key destinations across the country to enable them to implement tangible actions that fulfill the global sustainable tourism criteria for destinations and the tourism industry.”

To enable anyone interested to attend this first-ever GSTC national forum in the Philippines, LeadImpact Asia offers a two-day forum pass inclusive of conference kit, lunch, morning and afternoon snacks and certificates for only P14,500. A 20-percent discount is also being offered to local government units, who are at the forefront of adopting and implementing sustainable tourism practices in their localities.

To register to the GSTC Philippines National Forum, call 655-7132 / 734-4668 or email [email protected]. To learn more about this event, visit

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