February 9, 2023

To recognize its important role in ushering in a more sustainable, responsible, equitable and participatory rural development, the Department of Tourism-Cordillera will recognize villages in the region that embrace tourism as a vehicle in driving sustainable development.
The DOT-Cordillera has launched the search for the best tourism village in the region which runs from Nov. 22 to Dec. 23 and is open to all existing and emerging tourism villages in the region.
DOT-Cordillera Director Jovita Ganongan said the search also aims to provide incentive to tourism villages that embrace tourism and provide opportunities for sustainable development.
It also seeks to promote responsible tourism as a strategy for environmentally sound and community participatory tourism programs, enlisting the participation of local communities, including indigenous peoples.
It also aims to maintain international standards of excellence in community-based tourism facilities and services in the Cordillera and promote the region as a safe and wholesome tourist destination.
“It is our hope to instil a culture of tourism that would pave the way for a paradigm shift among all of us in the public and private sectors and to change how we take tourism and to care more about our culture and heritage, our traditional knowledge, our environment, especially our people, as part of the tourism value chain,” Ganongan said during the search’s launch on Dec. 10.
Through the search, the DOT aims to encourage communities to contribute to the government’s long-term vision of a more sustainable future in tourism, which may start from simply advocating green practices to engaging the communities to create and propagate local craftsmanship and traditional knowledge or even allowing creation to thrive especially among young people to find themselves in the Cordillera.
“All of these things have to be looked at in choosing the best tourism village. Our innate quality or uniqueness lies on where you can find people in a space practicing live culture, the way of life, not outside of the villages. We want to encourage them to develop their areas, to make them ready for tourism and in that way we can come up with village circuits for tourism immersion for unique Cordillera experiences that we can promote and propagate,” Ganongan added.
Those participating in the competition will be judged based on strategies on sustainability, stakeholder engagement, and tourism products and carrying capacity which makes up 25 percent of the criteria on sustainable management; socio-economic sustainability – 15 percent or based on delivering local economic benefits, governance, social wellbeing and impacts, and local supply chain and sourcing;
Cultural sensitivity – 25 percent, referring to visiting and protecting cultural sites and heritage, its management, and visitor experience; environmental sustainability – 10 percent or on energy conservation and use of renewable energy, water conservation and quality of water, pollution, and building materials; and rural economic development, 25 percent, which looks into reducing regional inequalities among others.
Applicants will be evaluated by a screening committee and will be notified when a team will come for a physical visit for authentication.
The best tourism village will receive P1 million; second place – P500,000; third place – P200,000; and five runners-up will be receiving P100,000 each as incentives. All winners will receive a trophy/certificate and a token.
Winners will be announced in January 2023.
Application forms are available in all provincial and municipal tourism offices in the Cordillera and may also be downloaded from http://bit.ly/BestTourismVillageSearch. – Hanna C. Lacsamana