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Travel vloggers told to form association, get accredited

A LAWMAKER told travel vloggers and mountaineering groups to form associations and get accreditation from the city.

Councilor Al Ryan Alejandre, the committee on tourism and beautification chair, addressed participants of the GREENfluence: A Forum on Advocating for Sustainable Eco-Tourism on Wednesday, May 15.

“This will allow associations to create their guidelines under existing city ordinances that have to be followed by its members,” Alejandre said.

The councilor added this association of vloggers will be accredited by the city tourism office for monitoring, specifically of erring vloggers as there is no existing regulatory body for them. 

“We need to know the parameters of the tourism sites we promote, and especially study if tourism is allowed in the area,” the councilor added.

Travel vloggers including mountaineering groups from the city and neighboring provinces convened for the forum on Wednesday at the Davao City Investment and Promotion Center, initiated by the environmental group Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS).

Yvette Balayon-Mahinay, IDIS knowledge management officer, explained the forum’s rationale is to combat illicit practices of travel vloggers promoting recreational activities in a protected Watershed area in the city.

To recall, the green group called out a travel vlogger after posting a video on its Facebook page endangering a section of the Panigan-Tamugan River, one of the city’s protected watersheds.

Following this, IDIS also raised alarm over the influx of residents welcoming the New Year at the section of the Panigan-Tamugan watershed on Jan. 1, leaving their waste in the river.  

Councilor Temujin “Tek” Ocampo, the committee on environment chair, initially pushed for the accreditation of these travel vloggers as they may trigger an influx of visitors. 

Arturo Ensalada, Viajero Davao Hikers League head, and a participant in the forum, expressed interest in joining the organization as this is also a good opportunity for them to be guided by standards set and promote responsible tourism.

“The advantage, is we get to know about what activities we are allowed to do and the limitations as guided by the law,” Ensalada told reporters.

Before their trekking commences, he shared every member undergoes a Basic Mountaineering Course which discusses mainly a “Leave No Trace” policy, however, they fail to include topics on the existing laws.

Kadtong mga wala na discuss sa BMC, mao ni akong ire-echo sa akong mga kaubanan, nga we not only focus on preparations pre-hiking but research on the place and existing regulations,” he said.

Ensalada created the league in 2021, which now has 90 members with 5,900 followers on Facebook.

Jemuel Olantao, Vlog ni JEM on Facebook, said accreditation is a good initiative to regulate the vloggers and for them to learn about the do’s and don’ts of promoting a particular spot.

Para dali pud ma trace and mga kaubanan namo nga vloggers labi na tong mga naka-violate [sa existing laws] pinaagi ani nga association,” he said.

Topics in the forum included the local Watershed Code and Zoning Ordinance of Davao City, National environmental laws on Protected Areas and Wildlife Conservation, Protection of ancestral domains and sacred places, and Greenfluencer 101- Mainstreaming Sustainable Eco-Tourism.


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