• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson disclosed on Saturday that the provincial government of Negros Occidental is committed to promoting tourism as an engine of socio-economic growth and cultural affirmation, “aligned with the principles of sustainability and environmental responsibility.”
Speaking at the opening of the 23rd Provincial Tourism Week celebration at Ayala Malls Capitol Central on September 16, Lacson said sustainable tourism initiatives can help to reduce the environmental impact of tourism activities by reducing waste, promoting the efficient use of energy and water, and using local produce and materials.
“Investing in ecologically sound tourism is an important concept for a sustainable future. It means investing in tourism activities that are designed to reduce any negative environmental impacts while protecting natural resources and promoting the well-being of local communities, advocating for sustainable practices such as reduced energy consumption, reduced water usage, and the use of renewable energy sources,” the governor pointed out.
Lacson added that the provincial government celebrates the Negros Occidental Tourism Week every year “to recognize the importance of tourism and the travel sectors. We are recognizing the impact of the tourism industry, particularly on our local economy and communities.”
“For this year, we are adopting the theme of the United Nations World Tourism Organization – World Tourism Day, ‘Tourism and Geen Investments’, which gives emphasis on the importance of sustainable tourism practices and ecologically sound investments in the tourism sector,” he added.
Lacson further said that the tourism industry “is an integral part of the global economy, and it has significantly increased its economic contribution by generating huge amounts of revenue.”
“We are grateful to our tourism stakeholders, our partners, the private sector, non-government organizations, and government agencies, for joining us in taking the challenge to take on innovative solutions to promote economic growth and activity, while keeping in mind environmental sustainability,” he added.
Sustainable tourism practices are important to ensure that the tourism industry can thrive and continue to provide economic benefits to the local community for generations to come, Lacson said, adding that “it is essential to ensure that the environment and local culture are protected and preserved.”
He also acknowledged “the vital contributions of the local government units, as well as the dedication of all tourism officers and workers from all LGUs of our province. We are grateful for your commitment and love for your work,” “We are proud that Negros Occidental’s Tourism Week Celebration has won the Hall of Fame Award given by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines Pearl Awards, for having won the Best Provincial Tourism Week Celebration for three years in a row, Lacson said.
All 32 LGUs, including Bacolod City, participated in the event.*