SEARCA to co-host world’s first ecotourism travel mart

  • By Sonny Pasiona
  • 28 March 2023, Tuesday

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) joins ecotourism champions and practitioners in co-hosting the International Ecotourism Travel Mart (IETM) from 29 March to 2 April 2023 in Silang, Cavite, Philippines.

IETM is an annual event designed to bring delegates and exhibitors together to showcase products and services with a strong ecotourism component, green technology, and sustainable green practices.

Being the first green travel mart and selling fair in the world, this event is presented by the Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN), a regional initiative of the Global Ecotourism Network (GEN) based in Costa Rica, in cooperation with the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST) as the leading proponent.

“SEARCA has been partnering with ISST in organizing learning events with components on agritourism that are aligned to our mandate,” said Dr. Nova Ramos, head of SEARCA’s Training for Development Unit under the Education and Collective Learning Department (ECLD-T4DU).  "This year in the IETM, the highlight is ecotourism, which is an important concept in Southeast Asia with diverse natural and cultural resources. We’re excited to collaborate again with ISST in this promising event,” she added.

In 2018, SEARCA and ISST collaborated in staging the Global Farm Tourism Summit held in the Philippines. For the IETM, SEARCA is a co-organizer and has awarded 14 grants to enable nationals of Southeast Asian countries to participate in this event, particularly in the Ecotourism Forum.

“SEARCA and ISST share a common objective of promoting ecotourism to encourage economic productivity and income,” Dr. Ramos stated. “We are confident that the participation of our grantees will enable them to learn best practices on ecotourism around the world and network with other participants for collaboration,” she added.

The evolving context of the emergence of ecotourism as a green travel mart and selling fair resonates with two of SEARCA’s seven priority areas: Enhanced Agricultural and Rural Development toward Climate Resilience and Agribusiness Models for Increased Productivity and Income

Dr. Glenn Gregorio, SEARCA director, is set to give a special message at the opening ceremony on 29 March and to open the SEARCA exhibit at the venue featuring the Center’s publications, projects, and activities. The exhibit used recycled and refurbished materials from SEARCA’s previous events to promote sustainable practices and resource efficiency.

SEARCA’s participation in the IETM is led by the ECLD-T4DU with assistance from the Applied Knowledge Resources Unit (AKRU) and the General Services Unit (GSU) for the exhibit.