Cover Ann and Billie Dumaliang

Sisters Ann and Billie Dumaliang, trustees of the Masungi Georeserve Foundation, will speak on conservation and tourism at this year's World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit in Manila

The most influential travel event of the year is set to be held in Manila this April 2022! The 21st Global Summit hosted by the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC) will gather over 600 industry leaders and 20 government officials in a hybrid event that is set to pave the way for the future of travel amid the ongoing pandemic. The organisation had previously announced an exciting lineup of speakers that included Indonesian-Dutch activist, Melati Wijsen, and South Korean diplomat, Ban Ki-moon.

Now, local eco-warriors and Gen.T Honourees, Ann and Billie Dumaliang are set to join the program as speakers who will enlighten the audience on the role of tourism in biodiversity conservation. 

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Trustees of the Masungi Georeserve Foundation, the Dumaliang sisters are passionate about keeping their advocacy of ecotourism. “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," shares Ann Dumaliang. "Tourism plays a crucial role in biodiversity conservation efforts both in terms of funding and spreading awareness on the importance of the environment."

Masungi Georeserve, which had recently been plagued by attacks on its rangers, is among the most popular weekend destinations nearby Manila. It is a conservation area that advocates for sustainability and environmental protection and was recognised by the WTTC in 2018 with the Tourism for Tomorrow Award. "We are hoping that with the resurgence of international and domestic tourism, we will be able to ramp up our conservation work," adds Ann Dumaliang. 

Though many see Masungi Georeserve as a mere weekend getaway, the conservation reserve also plays an important role in filling in the biodiversity funding gap in the Philippines. It provides forest enforcement support that deters threats to life and resources around the area. Rangers are trained in on-ground patrolling, monitoring technology, and other efforts in order to secure more areas for conservation. To date, the foundation has already planted over 60,000 indigenous trees and saved 2,000 hectares of land from encroachment and illegal activities. They have employed more than 100 park rangers and have supported 200 local households. 

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