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DENR urges public to adopt sustainable tourism practices

Apo Island is a premier diving site in Negros Oriental. DENR is calling on the public to adopt sustainable tourism practices to mitigate the negative effects of climate change in tourism and preserve the beauty of the province's natural tourist attractions. (File Photo/PIA7 Negros Oriental)

DUMAGUETE CITY, Negros Oriental (PIA) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) urged the public to adopt sustainable tourism practices to protect the natural tourist spots from the ill-effects of climate change.

This was emphasized by DENR provincial environment and natural resources officer Viernov Grefalde in a recent climate forum, where he also warned that the province’s tourism sector will suffer if there will be continued degradation of the environment.

“Tourism, being heavily reliant on national resources and the environment, is intricately linked to climate patterns,” Grefalde said.

He explained that climate change could alter the natural landscape and ecosystems in the province.
Changes in the temperature and precipitation patterns could also affect local vegetation and wildlife, which could diminish the bio-diversity here.

Negros Oriental is home to Apo Island, a world-renowned tourist destination and a famous diving spot for dive enthusiasts.

Other natural attractions that can be found here include the Casaroro Falls in Valencia, Balisasayao Twin Lakes in Sibulan, Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park in Canlaon City, Manjuyod Sand Bar in Manjuyod, and dolphin watching in Bais City.

DENR Negros Oriental PENRO Viernov Grefalde (with mic) shares some of the effects of climate change in the province's tourism industry during the panel discussion of the Cilmate Forum on the Impacts of Climate Change on Tourism held on Feb. 23, 2024 in Dumaguete City. (RAL/PIA7 Negros Oriental)
Top economic driver

Due to the abundance of natural tourist spots, tourism has been a top economic driver in the province.

The Negros Oriental Provincial Tourism Board reported that in 2023, there were 242,982 tourist arrivals in the province.

Grefalde said it is important to preserve the environment and maintain the beauty of the province’s natural resources to ensure the livelihood of people and other sectors involved in tourism.

“We must prioritize sustainable practices in tourism industry, engage in rain forestation programs and initiatives, educate tourists about the importance of sustainable travel, and encourage them to make environment-conscious choice,” he added.

DENR provincial information officer Jeanette Orcullo said part of the environment-conscious choices that travelers can do is to avoid single-use plastics and bring reusable water containers, utensils, and eco-bags.

She added that travelers can also reduce their carbon footprints by walking to their destination instead of riding motorcabs as much as possible as this will help lessen air pollution in the area.

Other sustainable travel practices include staying in eco-friendly establishments, patronizing locally-made products and cuisine, and respecting local cultures.

Threats to local 

The climate forum was organized by the Rotary District 3860 here to intensify the campaign on environmental preservation.

In the forum, climate expert Engr. Ludwig Federigan said the destruction of coral reefs due to ocean acidification and rising sea temperature are threats to the local coastal tourism.

“These climate-related events will threaten not only the famous Apo Island, which is known for diving, but will include more than 200 species of fish found in the waters near Dumaguete, approximately 200 coral species, more than 100 micro invertebrate species, and seven sea grass species in four marine reserves in adjacent fish areas within the province,” Federigan said.

Federigan is the founding executive director of Young Environment Forum and director of Climate Tracker Asia Inc.

He stressed the importance of working together to avert and mitigate the negative impact of climate change in the province’s tourism sector.

“For one to maintain the pristine atmosphere in local beaches, these beaches require preservation and protection and would require collaboration with regulatory bodies - the local government units and other sectors of the society,” Federigan added. (RAL/PIA7 Negros Oriental) 

Climate Expert Engr. Ludwig Federigan cites the importance of taking action to mitigate climate change during the Climate Forum organized by Rotary District 3860 in Dumaguete City held on Feb. 23, 2024 at Robinsons Place Dumaguete. (RAL/PIA7 Negros Oriental)

About the Author

Roi Anthoni Lomotan


Region 7

Roi Anthoni Lomotan is an Information Officer at Philippine Information Agency (PIA) - 7. He is currently based in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. His job at PIA includes covering general beat assignments and other important events in the province.

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