Cotabato’s Lake Sebu, Lake Holon shortlisted in global ecotourism search

GENERAL SANTOS CITY—South Cotabato province’s famed lakes Sebu and Holon have been shortlisted in the 2016 search for the global Top 100 Sustainable Destinations.

Nelly Nita Dillera, Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 12 director, said the regional office have received a confirmation that the two lakes, which are currently among the top ecotourism destinations in the region, have been included as among the finalists in the search.

Lake Sebu is in Lake Sebu town, while Lake Holon, which is a crater-lake nestled atop Mount Melebingoy, is in T’boli town.

She said the two destinations were earlier nominated to the search by local tourism stakeholders.

“The nominee-sites were judged based on authenticity, biodiversity, cultural values, local community involvement, local food and environment,” Dillera said.

The search, which promotes “responsible and green tourism,” is the follow-up to National Geographic traveler’s destination stewardship surveys from 2004 to 2010, and the 2014 Sustainable Destinations Global Top 100.

It is a joint initiative of the Netherlands-based Green Destinations, Sustainable Travel International, TravelMole, Destination Stewardship Center, Asian Ecotourism Network, and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Organizers said it is supported by more than 60 organizations and experts in the field of sustainable tourism.

Dillera said officials of Lake Sebu and T’boli will have the opportunity to be conferred as “Green Ambassadors” during the Global Green Destinations Day celebration set on Sept. 27 to 28 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

She said Ljubljana had been elected as Europe’s “Green Capital” for 2016 and host of the celebration.

“They will be given certificates being part of the shortlist and will have the opportunity to present their tourism pitches to the international media during the event,” she said.

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