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Bohol Tourism Office: ‘Involve communities in geoparks conservation’

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, October 14 (PIA) -- The  Bohol Tourism Office (BTO) has rounded up schools and colleges offering tourism and hospitality courses to help in the Green Investment symposia and information drive, especially now that Bohol is designated as part of its network of United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Geoparks.

This was disclosed by BTO Officer in Charge Joanne Pinat during the recent Kapihan sa PIA, which discussed the Tourism Month Celebration.

It may be recalled that on May 24, 2023, the UNESCO, in its assembly in Paris, adopted a resolution initiating the whole of Bohol into the network of 195 geoparks across 48 countries.

Bohol, as a geopark, is the largest geopark in Asia and the first in the Philippines.

With the declaration, Bohol Gov. Erico Aristotle Aumentado said the whole concept of the geopark should be understood by the Boholanos.

A UNESCO Global Geopark is defined as an area where sites and landscapes of international geological, historical, cultural and scientific significance are managed by a holistic approach – combining conservation, education, research, and sustainable development.

The idea of sustainable development and environmental conservation, however, is nothing new to Boholanos.

The Bohol vision, mission, and goals in the late 1990s envisioned the province as a prime eco-cultural tourism destination and gives a premium to the environment to preserve and conserve its tourism sites and destinations. 

For the conferment of the designation that would make the whole of Bohol a living laboratory for researchers in geology and geological formations as well as how its culture and heritage survived, Pinat pointed out that the geopark designation is an indicator that the province has been going in the right direction. 

“We are going in the right direction, as the geopark [designation], it gives us the stamp, as an ISO brand, it puts a value to what we have been doing since the 1990s, when we aimed at sustainability of the destination,” Pinat said.

“We could not be given this prestigious designation if we did not do those sustainability efforts in the protection and conservation of these sites and wonders,” she added.

However, initiation in the geopark networks is not a perpetual membership.

According to Board Member Tita Baja, after four years, a UNESCO team would come to Bohol to check on the status of the protection, conservation, and sustainability of the sites to see how these are being managed for the future generations.

Should a geopark lose its focus on maintaining its sustainable management practices, it could be delisted, said Baja during a privilege speech at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.  

Pinat said this is reason why Boholanos “have to be enthusiastic at sustaining our activities as we have been defending and protecting our sites.”

The BTO and the provincial government have partnered with the Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education to bring the concept of preservation and promotion of geoscience to the communities to strengthen the appreciation for geoheritage, and cause its protection, preservation, and protection through the Green Investment symposia.

Pinat also called on Boholanos to unite and help the provincial government’s efforts as the geoparks designation’s main goal are the protection and conservation of the natural resources, which would lead to socio-economic benefits for the communities. (RAHC/PIA-7 Bohol)

Bohol Tourism Officer (BTO) OIC Joanne Pinat explains the need for the increased awareness on the geoparks concept among Boholanos. The BTO has tapped the schools for Green Investment Symposia to mark the Tourism Month in September. (PIA Bohol)

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Rey Anthony Chiu

Regional Editor

Region 7

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