LOS BAÑOS, Laguna (March 30, 2023)—The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) has joined ecotourism champions and practitioners in co-hosting the International Ecotourism Travel Mart (IETM) from March 29 to April 2, in Silang town in Cavite province.
At the opening ceremony on Wednesday, March 29, Searca director Dr. Glenn Gregorio gave a special message and opened the Searca exhibit at the venue featuring the Center’s publications, projects and activities.
The exhibit used recycled and refurbished materials from Searca’s previous events to promote sustainable practices and resource efficiency.
Gregorio said Searca’s participation in the IETM is led by the Searca Training for Development Unit under the Education and Collective Learning Department (ECLD-T4DU) with assistance from the Applied Knowledge Resources Unit (AKRU) and the General Services Unit for the exhibit.
He said the annual IETM event is designed to bring delegates and exhibitors together to showcase products and services with a strong ecotourism component, green technology and sustainable green practices.
He said the event is the first green travel mart and selling fair in the world which is presented by the Asian Ecotourism Network, a regional initiative of the Global Ecotourism Network based in Costa Rica, in cooperation with the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST) as the leading proponent.
Dr. Nova Ramos, ECLD-T4DU head, said the center has been partnering with ISST in organizing learning events with components on agritourism that are aligned with their mandate.
“This year in the IETM, the highlight is ecotourism, which is an important concept in Southeast Asia with diverse natural and cultural resources. We’re excited to collaborate again with ISST in this promising event,” Ramos said.
In 2018, Searca and ISST collaborated in staging the Global Farm Tourism Summit held in the Philippines.
Ramos noted that for the IETM, Searca is a co-organizer and has awarded 14 grants to enable nationals of Southeast Asian countries to participate in this event, particularly in the Ecotourism Forum.
She said Searca and ISST share a common objective of promoting ecotourism to encourage economic productivity and income.
“We are confident that the participation of our grantees will enable them to learn best practices on ecotourism around the world and network with other participants for collaboration,” Ramos added.
According to Searca, the evolving context of the emergence of ecotourism as a green travel mart and selling fair resonates with two of Searca’s seven priority areas.
These are the Enhanced Agricultural and Rural Development toward Climate Resilience and Agribusiness Models for Increased Productivity and Income, it said. LEANDER C. DOMINGO