Congressman Rene Lopez Relampagos of the First District of Bohol and Chairman of the House Committee on Tourism appreciates and fully supports individuals and private organizations that push for responsible tourism.
â€œWhat we need to understand is that tourism, especially eco-tourism should be both progressive and sustainable.Â We cannot thrive if we do not take care of what we have,â€ Relampagos states.
Social media sites went abuzz recently following a photo of Mt. Keltipan in Sagada flocked by many people during the Holy Week despite the pleas of the citizens of the area to not visit the community during the holiday.Â Environmentalist has already uttered their concern over the rise of Mt. Keltipanâ€™s popularity after it was featured in the movie That Thing Called Tadhana, saying that â€œmagagahasa ang Sagada.â€ (Sagada will be abused.)
Another photo that made rounds in social was that of Cebuano heritage interpreter Ka Bino Guerrero featuring Cebuâ€™s Tumalog Falls with garbage unscrupulously littered around the area, which he claims is done by the locals.
â€œOur natural tourist spots are fragile. If we donâ€™t care of it, then we will lose the sites we take pride off.Â Itâ€™s not like those manmade structures that tourists want to see,â€ Relapmpagos explains.Â â€œOur tourist spots cannot be simply renovated to be restored to its former grandeur. It will take so much time.Â So we need to be responsible tourists and be responsible locals as well.â€
The first district lawmaker stresses the importance of low-impact excursions through Leave No Trace principle.
â€œTake nothing but pictures.Â Leave nothing but footprints.Â Kill nothing but time.Â We hear that over and over again and we should keep it in mind always.â€
Relampagos also calls for the constant collaboration of the people and the local government units in preserving their natural wonders.
â€œPreserving our tourist spots should always be a collaborative effort between the provincial government, the LGUs, and most importantly, the residents of the area.Â The government needs to impose needed measures and policies in order to maintain our tourist attractions current state.Â The people as well, should also do their part by reminding the tourist by being responsible visitors and by setting the proper examples themselves.â€
â€œWe donâ€™t want that we become the cause of our tourist attractions degradation,â€ Relampagos notes. â€œImagine polluted Abatan and Loboc rivers or our Panglao shorelines filled with trash.Â Who wants to experience the area?Â So we need to protect our tourist jewels.Â If the worst comes, we will not just jeopardize our standing as one of the countryâ€™s prime eco-tourism destination but the many people whose livelihoods are dependent on tourism.â€