A niche tourism brand for students, budding scientists, or even armchair Einsteins is currently in the works in Los Baños.
Through the Los Baños Science Community Foundation, Inc. (LBSCFI), the “Development of Science Tourism in Los Baños” project was launched through the signing of a memorandum of agreement with the CALABARZON branches of the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of Education (DepED).
The project aims to promote science and technology (S&T), increase the number of tourists in Los Baños, and boost the engagements of local stakeholders and enterprises.
According to LBSCFI President and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) IV-A Regional Director Alexander R. Madrigal, the project also aims to “promote S&T as a career path among students.”
As an emerging niche tourism concept, “there is no body of knowledge yet in science tourism,” said Forester Roberto P. Cereno, Chair of the LBSCFI Tourism Committee and director of the University of the Philippines Los Baños-College of Forestry and Natural Resources (UPLB-CFNR) Training Center for Tropical Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability.
Cereno however emphasized the scopes of science tourism, which are “science in tourism” and “tourism in science.” The former showcases S&T innovations and interventions, while the latter packages and promotes S&T ideas, discoveries, laboratory breakthroughs into “awe-inspiring” and “mind-blowing” tourist attractions.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Region IV-A Regional Director Rebecca V. Labit expressed support to science tourism. She describes the undertaking as “timely, needed, and speaks well of the sustainability for tourism.”
Also present during the launch were Los Baños Mayor Caesar P. Perez, Lopez Elementary School Principal Bernon Abellera, members of the national and local media, and representatives of LBSCFI member-agencies.
Los Baños was designated as the “Special Science and Nature City” of the Philippines in 2000 based on Proclamation No. 349. Visitors flock to this university town to see the scientific outputs of LBSCFI member-agencies, which include UPLB, International Rice Research Institute, PCAARRD, DOST IV-A, and other institutions and organizations, aside from its natural wonders and other tourist attractions.