LEGAZPI CITY — Secretary General Taleb Rifai of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNTWO) will arrive on Saturday to preside over the 26th Joint meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the UNWTO Commission for South Asia.
Rifai, a Jordanian national, will also preside over the two-day UNWTO-ASEAN International Conference on Tourism and Climate Change where the member-nations will take up and sign the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (GCET) on Sunday.
GCET is a comprehensive set of principles designed to guide key players in tourism development to help government, travel industry and communities to maximize the sectors’ benefits while minimizing its potential negative impact on the environment, cultural heritage and societies across the globe.
The code has ten principles that amply cover the economic, social, cultural and environmental components of travel and tourism.
Upon his arrival at the Legazpi airport on Saturday, Rifai will be met by national and local officials and then tour the Mayon Lava Front in Barangay Mabinit, a village at the foot of Mayon Volcano some 7 kilometers from the city proper.
The official will then proceed to the Misibis Bay Resort in Barangay Misibis, in Bacacay town some 30 kilometers from this city.
Maria Ong-Ravanilla, DOT Bicol regional director, said this year’s one key item in the agenda of the joint commission will be a debate on air connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region and its impact on tourism.
At the end of the conference, the UNTWO members would be able to draw up preventive measures to caution the impact of climate change on tourism and strengthen the industry response mechanism and ability to deal with climate change threats and challenges.
The conference will also address thematic topics about innovation, technology and institutional training, and deal with consumer behavior and policy reforms.
Issues will be addressed concerning competitiveness and sustainability, efficient and renewable energies and low carbon tourism development.
Albay will play host to three international events to be held at the Oriental Hotel here.
These events include the 40th Meeting of the ASEAN, Plus Three National Tourism Organization on May 15-17; 26th Joint Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and UNWTO Commission for South Asia on May 18; and the UNWTO–ASEAN International Conference on Tourism and Climate Change on May 19-20.
Ravanilla said some 2,000 delegates from 32 countries will participate in this conference.
At present, flags of the 32 member-nations are unfurled at public places in the province, at the Peñaranda Park and the Oriental Hotel. Colorful welcome streamers hang along the major city streets of Legazpi and public places in Albay.
The DOT and Albay has allocated some P18 million for these three events. (From PNA report by Mar S. Arguelles)
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