Negros Occidental’s San Carlos City received the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) “Clean Tourist City” award for the second time, a recognition valid from 2020 to 2022.

Jennifer Saballa, officer-in-charge of the San Carlos City Tourism Office, said on Wednesday that the achievement shows the various initiatives of the city government to promote sustainable tourism development.

“The city is again honored to receive the international award, which is a product of the strong support of the local government. We hope to sustain the efforts and look forward to more initiatives geared towards ensuring sustainability,” Saballa added.

Mayor Renato Gustilo earlier received a letter from Director Rebecca Villanueva-Labit of the Office of Tourism Standards and Regulation of the Department of Tourism, informing him about the award.

The awards ceremony will be held at The Empire Hotel and Country Club, Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei Darussalam this coming January 16.

The northern Negros City, which first received the award in 2017, was among the Southeast Asian cities recognized for having endeavored to beautify their public areas, improve the environment and sanitation, enhance urban spaces, and promote man-made and natural attractions.

Saballa said the city complied with the indicators set by the Asean City Tourism Standard (ACTS), such as environmental protection and management, waste management, health, urban safety and security, and tourism infrastructures and programs.

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been installed around the city starting last year to meet the safety and security indicator.

In 2017, San Carlos strengthened its effort to promote the establishment of “tourist restrooms” based on Asean standards for comfort rooms.

San Carlos hosts an eco-center that provides a venue for benchmarking on waste management and other good environment practices and technologies for other localities in the province.

Saballa said they are focusing on tourism development areas as part of conservation efforts for natural attractions and destinations in the city.

“We are continuing our community-based efforts aimed at providing livelihood opportunities to the locals while at the same time involving them in environment protection and conservation measures,” she added.

San Carlos City has also been a recipient of other international recognitions, such as the Asean’s 50 Landmark Cities and Environmentally Sustainable Cities, and Top 100 Sustainable Destinations.

For 2020, San Carlos will join two other cities from the Philippines — Iloilo and Baguio — as Asean Clean Tourist City awardees.

The ACTS aims to provide member-countries with a tool that would improve the quality of tourism in their cities and increase their marketing competitiveness while improving the situation of local residents and their livelihood by alleviating poverty. (PNA)

Photo credit: Joe Recalex Alingasa Jr.