PH backs UNWTO’s recommendations–DOT

October 19, 2023 Cristina Lee-Pisco 223 views

THE Philippines supports the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) recommendation for the adoption of the Statistical Framework on Measuring Sustainable Tourism by the General Assembly.

This, as the Philippines shared the global stage with tourism powerhouses at the 25th UNWTO General Assembly held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on October 18, 2023 as Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific.

The UNWTO, of which The Philippines is a full member, is a specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

“We rally behind the UNWTO in strongly recommending the adoption by the General Assembly of this Statistical Framework on Measuring Sustainable Tourism,” Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco said.

Represented by Secretary Garcia-Frasco, the Philippines was recently elected Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific of the UNWTO General Assembly, a prestigious global position last held by the country more than two decades ago.

She led the Philippine delegation attended by top global tourism leaders and influencers from 150 countries.

In her intervention on the agenda about current trends of international tourism, Frasco commended the initiatives in the development of the statistical framework for measuring the sustainability of tourism, highlighting that UNWTO has chosen the Philippines as one of the countries for its pilot implementation.

She said: “As a concrete manifestation of our support to the UNWTO’s sustainable tourism initiatives, the Philippines, as one of the members of the Committee on Statistics representing the Commission for East Asia and the Pacific, respectfully recommends that the UNWTO General Assembly endorse the Statistical Framework for Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism (MST), establishing a global consensus among the community of nations.

This shall establish a common ground among our nations to measure data on the economic, environmental and social dimensions of tourism.”

In a voting ceremony held in Cambodia, Frasco, as representative of the Philippines, took one of the seven coveted seats in the executive committee of this year’s UNWTO General Assembly, to occupy a spot in the panel of 15 that included UNWTO Secretary General, His Excellency Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary of the Assembly and UNWTO Director for Communications Mr. Marcelo Risi and UNWTO Legal Counsel Alicia Gomez.

Uzbekistan presided the General Assembly as elected president, and was assisted by the Commission Vice Chairs: Algeria and the United Republic of Tanzania for Africa, Argentina and Paraguay for the Americas, the Philippines for East Asia and the Pacific, Hungary for Europe, United Arab Emirates for the Middle East, and Maldives for South Asia, in the assembly that explored opportunities for shaping new policies, effective instruments and global partnerships to support inclusive and sustainable tourism development.

To recall, the Philippines hosted the UNWTO International Tourism Forum in Cebu, and the 6th International Conference on Tourism Statistics in Manila in June 2017, a gathering of global leaders from over 88 countries that resulted in the “Manila Call for Action on Measuring Sustainable Tourism.”

Maximizing the opportunity, Frasco pitched to the world tourism arena what awaits guests when they come to visit the Philippines, as she likewise pointed out the imperative need to pursue a sustainability tourism framework.

Frasco added “megabiodiversity is also another dimension unique to the Philippines. Our 7,641 islands are home to 2/3 of the Earth’s biodiversity, with 70 to 80% of the world’s plant and animal species found in our islands.

In view of the natural bounty and ecological vulnerability of our islands, the Philippines recognizes the primordial importance of adopting a sustainability framework in tourism recovery and development.”

As Vice President of the General Assembly, Frasco, representing the Philippines, also led the presentation of the report of the executive council to the General Assembly.

The Philippines is set to host the Joint Regional Meetings of the Committee for East Asia and the Pacific and South Asia in Cebu in June 2024.

Joining Frasco in representing the Philippines at the 25th UNWTO General Assembly were Philippine Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran Roberto Manalo, and DOT officials Undersecretary Shahlimar Hofer Tamano, OIC-Undersecretary Verna Buensuceso and Assistant Secretary Rica Bueno.