Friday, August 13, 2010

Tourism sector helps in 'climate proof' development of Albay in the Philippines

The Philippine Star via Xinhua: In the province of Albay, the local government's plan to put up an international airport is in line with its vision of a " climate proof" and "disaster proof" economic development. The Daraga International Airport, which will rise from what was once a 150 hectares of rice fields, is expected to spur more local and foreign travelers to visit not only Albay - renown for being home of the beautiful Mayon Volcano - but the nearby provinces of Sorsogon and Camarines Sur as well.

A more vibrant tourism industry will then provide livelihood to residents of resettlement areas surrounding the airport, helping them to recover from the natural hazards that ruined their farms and houses. The airport - and the many benefits it entails - also reaffirms Albay's status as a global model for climate change adaptation. "This is a geo-strategic intervention," Albay Governor Joey Salceda said in a meeting with members of the Philippine Network of Environmental Journalists (PNEJ).

Salceda estimated that the tourism industry will provide livelihood for the roughly 10,000 "high risk" families who need to be relocated in permanent resettlement sites, mostly in Daraga. These families are now residing around Mayon Volcano - an active volcano that erupted 49 times in the last four centuries.

For Salceda, who was named "senior champion" of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN-ISDR), boosting Albay's tourism industry is less about raising revenues and more of defending the Albayenos from numerous natural disasters. "Albay is no longer about GDP blah blah blah. It is more about social desirability," he said….

Locator map of Albay by seav, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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