Paje pushes ‘voluntourism’

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Environment Secretary Ramon Paje. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Tourists must leave a healing rather than a damaging footprint on local communities and the natural world, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said on Saturday, as he announced his campaign for a different brand of tourism called “voluntourism.”

An amalgam of volunteerism and tourism, voluntourism refers to travels for charity.

In a statement, Paje encouraged Filipinos to plan their summer vacations with charitable and environmental causes in mind.

In partnership with the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is embarking on a new campaign would that seek to stir Filipinos’ “bayanihan” or community spirit to help rebuild the environment, especially in disaster-hit areas.

The idea is to rehabilitate and protect the country’s environment while luring visitors who could stimulate the local economy, Paje said.

He said the concept of voluntourism was being worked out between the DENR and the DOT for public promotion, with Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley as areas of concern following the massive environmental damage wrought in the two provinces by Typhoon “Pablo” in December.

“Tourists can go there to help build houses for villages destroyed or wiped out by flash floods. That is voluntourism,” Paje said.

According to Paje, coordinators for the National Greening Program (NGP), the country’s massive reforestation program, have been tasked to identify and designate other areas where visitors can undertake tree-planting activities.

Paje presented the idea at the recent signing of a memorandum of agreement between the DENR and DOT to promote sustainable tourism activities in key biodiversity areas around the country.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, who was present at the MOA signing, reiterated the important link between tourism and the environment.

“With tourism comes awareness; with awareness, understanding and with understanding, caring. For every person whose eyes are opened with every visit, the safer our environment will become,” Jimenez said.

Paje said other voluntourism activities that people may be interested in signing up for include cleaning up riverbanks, coastal areas and waterways.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/beng.atibo.3 Beng Atibo

    Stop your strange ideas and just do your work!!! The country environmentallt is a big mess!!!Tourist will come if the Philippine environment is clean! 

  • mekeni62

    Most tourists go on holiday to stay away  from their stressful jobs even for just a short period. Gustong magpahinga pagkatapos maglilinis ng ilog? May magvo-volunteer naman kaya?

  • Billy Reyes

    Charity Tourism is massive around the world, one example is Coral Gardening mostly in South Pacific islands badly damaged by sea warming & human activities. This probably doesn’t suit the Filipino way of holiday because Filipino are very shallow mentality but this would definitely attract Foreigners.

    Can you imagine the idea of doing something to help save the nature, mix with locals & live the way they are for some other people that is more than a holiday.

  • surigao_miners

    SIRA ULO!

  • etomacq

    What?? Ang gusto ba palabasin ni Paje na imbes na mag relax ang mga tourist at bakasyunista dito sa Pinas e magvolunteer na lang para gawin nila ang dapat gawain ng gobyerno? Gusto nyo puro volunteer ang gagawa tapos yun pondo ibubulsa nyo???? tsk tsk tsk. Wala na ba talagang matinong op[isyal ang gobyernong ito?

  • disqusted0fu

    What in the world?! Is this how bad the Aquino administration is noynoying now? That they are thinking about vacationists doing the government’s job for them? Now it’s the tourists who have to suffer from the Aquino administration’s inaction on disaster hit areas? There’s no problem in helping out, but if the government doesn’t seem to be doing their responsibilities then they are going to pass it onto the tourists, that’s completely abnormal.

  • disqusted0fu

    Pnoy and his people only attended to the typhoon hit areas, particularly the ones hit by ‘Pablo” once; only a few days after the disaster. After that, they seem to have neglected these provinces and the victims there. And now they are counting on tourists who want to relax and unwind to do the job of the administration. What do tax payers pay these officials for?

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