Global Youth Forum 2017 Held to Discuss Millennials’ Contributions in Sustainable Tourism
The Global Youth Forum (GYF) 2017 was recently held to encourage the youth to actively participate in advancing sustainable tourism.
Present in the GYF 2017 that took place at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC) from Feb. 20 to 21, 2017 include policy makers from the government, academe, and private sectors as well as green entrepreneurs. They talked about ecotourism, heritage tourism, volunteering while traveling or the so-called voluntourism, promoting sustainability in their tourism careers, community development, and more.
What is sustainable tourism?
For those who are not aware, sustainable tourism is the “development that meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing the opportunity for the future,” according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The 2017 edition of GYF focused on the youths’ or millennials’ significant role as among the primary drivers of the green economy. The event urged delegates to fully understand the impact of their travel practices on the environment.
Organized yearly by the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST), the GYF 2017 was co-presented by the Department of Tourism; Tourism Promotions Board; Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA); and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).
The event was also endorsed by the Department of Education; Department of Interior and Local Government; National Youth Commission; and Commission on Higher Education.
Sponsors and Media Partners
The GYF 2017 was made possible by some sponsors, including Philippines AirAsia; Globe Telecom; Manila North Tollways Corporation; McDonald’s; Cocoline; and Casa San Miguel. It was also sponsored by Virginia Hotdog; Hawk Bags; Bic Ballpens; and Tempra.
In the meantime, the event’s official media partners were Out of Town Blog; Inquirer.net; When In Manila; and RubyComm-K.Austria Public Relations Consultants.
Guest of Honor
Senator Richard Gordon served as the guest of honor during the event’s Opening Ceremony. In his speech, Gordon encouraged the youth to make a move for the tourism industry.
Other personalities who gave their messages include Dr. Mina T. Gabor, ISST’s President; Alma Rita Jimenez, DoT Undersecretary for Tourism Regulation, Coordination, and Resource Generation; Aiza Seguerra, National Youth Commission’s Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer; and Martin Diño, SBMA’s Chairperson.
In her speech, Gabor said that the ISST was truly honored to see all the delegates of the GYF 2017.
“All of the participants are VIPs,” she added.
Two-way learning experience
Speakers of the event provided a two-way learning experience. Government workers who were present during the event learned the best practices that would guide them to develop different programs and policies for the youth sector. Meanwhile, delegates were informed of various successful tourism initiatives.
Eric Zerrudo, Director of the University of Santo Tomas Graduate School, Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics was the keynote speaker for “Heritage Tourism: Building a Strong Foundation Through Cultural Preservation.”
He said that for tourism products to be sustainable, it is very important that the local government units, the academe, the experts, and the community should be “very involved” in the production of the experience. He went on to say that sustainable tourism products should have “very strong grounding in regards to the community.”
Jamie Anne Dichaves, Sustainability Officer and Pollution Control Officer of Lio Tourism Estate, was chosen to speak about “Striking a Balance: Ecotourism for Environmental Conservation and Rural Development.”
She said that ecotourism is not only about enjoying what the nature has to offer but also contributing in a particular community. She added that ecotourism should produce a positive effect in the community or in the destination.
Sarah Aquino, Director of External Affairs of Juan Portrait, shared her insights on “Doing Our Part: Responsible Travelling for the Millennial Traveller.” She said that the youth should harness the power of traveling to create awareness.
The keynote speaker for “A Match Made in Heaven: Community Development and Tourism” was World Experience Philippines’ founder Juliette Kwee. She urged the youth to use tourism as a platform to help other people.
The Youth Tourism of Ambassador of Pacific Asia Travel Association Jie Cheng Wong, in the meantime, talked about “A Green Future: Career Opportunities in Sustainable Tourism.”
Wong encouraged millennials to play a role in the green advocacy to “change how we live tomorrow,” emphasizing that sustainability is both a lifestyle and a mindset.