|Posted on July 3, 2012 at 2:30 AM|
Volunteer tourism gets limelight in the Philippines
by Rosa Ocampo,
Manila, June 27, 2012
TOUR operators in the Philippines are lining up packages with charity elements such as repairing rice terraces and building houses for needy communities to promote volunteer tourism.
The packages, which can be woven into other itineraries such as tours of Manila, Palawan, Bohol and Cebu, will first be launched at the Philippine Travel Mart from September 2-4, with the domestic market being the target audience. They will then be introduced to the international market at the PATA Travel Mart later that month.
Cesar Cruz, president of the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA) said a consortium of 14 tour operators, with the association playing the role of secretariat, would operate the programme that involves repairing the Banaue Rice Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Details of the programme are being finalised and guaranteed departures will be offered.
The Department of Tourism and PHILTOA are also discussing a programme that will allow volunteers to join Gawad Kalinga, a non-profit organisation, in building houses for the poor.
As well, tour operators will market the Cagayan de Oro Fun Help Package, offered by the Cagayan de Oro Tours and Travel Association, which reaches out to victims of a typhoon that had killed over 800 people in southern Philippines last November. Participants can contribute cash donations, go on city tours and sign up for optional activities such as whitewater rafting.