Protectors of Masungi Georeserve Will Be Speakers at the 21st World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit

Ann and Billie Dumaliang, trustees of the Masungi Georeserve Foundation, will be sharing insights on the role of tourism in biodiversity conservation efforts at the 21st Global Summit of the World Travel & Tourism Council. The highly anticipated summit, widely regarded as the most influential travel event on the calendar, will be held in person in Manila with a global audience joining virtually from April 20 to 22. Over 600 industry leaders and 20 government representatives are expected to attend.

“We are honored to be invited by WTTC President Julia Simpson and the Philippine Government to speak about our project and continue to work in tandem on vital issues. Tourism plays a crucial role in biodiversity conservation efforts – both in terms of funding and spreading awareness on the importance of the environment,” shares Ann Dumaliang, Managing Trustee of Masungi Georeserve and a National Geographic Explorer.

Masungi Georeserve Ann and Billie DumaliangMasungi Georeserve is a conservation area and geological heritage site in Baras, Rizal | Image: Masungi Georeserve

Did you know? In the Philippines, there is only an average 1 ranger for every 4000 hectares of protected area.

In 2018, the United Nations Development Programme through the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) reported that the Philippines has an 80% biodiversity funding gap. Essentially, this means that the Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan or PBSAP cannot be fully implemented due to resource constraints. Privately protected areas and Other Effective Conservation Measures (OECMs) like Masungi Georeserve are helping fill these funding and management gaps.

“Aside from supplementing government efforts, our team also ensures that Masungi’s visitors come away with a deeper understanding of how caring for the environment is essential to our own survival. We are hoping that with the resurgence of international and domestic tourism, we will be able to ramp up our conservation work.” Summit delegates are also set to visit Masungi Georeserve as part of their post-conference itinerary.

Masungi Georeserve Ann and Billie DumaliangAnn and Billie Dumaliang | Image: Masungi Georeserve

Masungi Georeserve Foundation provides forest enforcement support to deter and ultimately eliminate threats to the georeserve and surrounding watershed areas. Through on-ground patrolling, installation of ranger stations and investments in monitoring technology, the foundation has been able to accelerate efforts and secure more areas for conservation in pursuance of the Masungi Geopark Project. To date, the foundation has been able to plant over 60,000 native trees, engage more than 100 park rangers, support 200 local households, and rescue 2,000 hectares of land from encroachment and illegal activities.

Masungi Georeserve Foundation’s conservation approach has earned it accolades here and abroad with the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) recognizing it in its 2018 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) naming it as one of top three privately-led sustainable tourism projects in 2019. Most recently, it won the inaugural global Water Changemakers Award from the Global Water Partnership for speaking truth to power, overcoming inertia, and forming collaborations in watershed rehabilitation.

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