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Community-based tourism gaining more momentum, say tour operators

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - September 5, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Community-based tourism is gaining momentum nationwide as it promotes inclusive growth and directly helps far-flung areas, the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA) said.

PHILTOA president Cesar Cruz said this kind of tourism is expanding and growing, with “feel good” individuals as primary market.

“They are the ones who want to serve the community. They try to enjoy the destination as tourists but at the same time they also want to help the community,” he added.

Community-based tourism is construed “leisure with a meaning” and not just a trend in the country but all over the world, PHILTOA said.

PHILTOA recently inked a partnership with ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc.’s Bantay Kalikasan through G Eco Tours which aims to uplift standards of living, preserve natural resources and directly involve the communities.

G Eco Tours has 11 site destinations in the provinces of Zambales, Batangas, Mindoro, Romblon, Sorsogon, Iloilo, Guimaras, Samar, Leyte, Palawan and Sarangani.

One of these is Ugong Rock in Puerto Princesa, Palawan where community income started at P133,800 in 2009 and escalated to P29.97 million in 2014.

ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation chairperson Regina Lopez said they want to further add site destinations in the future through collaboration with local government units (LGUs) and non-government organizations (NGOs).

On the other hand, she said everyone is a target market especially those people who want something different and not commercialized.

“It’s the way to remove poverty in the country and it’s capitalizing on the beauty that we have,” Lopez added.

Cruz said G Eco Tours is one of the biggest community-based tourism programs in the country, backed by one of the major media networks in the Philippines.

“It is a combination of volunteerism and connecting community with a nice tourist attraction making it a destination,” he added.

PHILTOA will be the channel through which consumers can avail of the packages since ABS-CBN Foundation is not allowed to directly receive payments.

For every person who will avail of the package, a fixed amount of P200 will be donated to ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation’s Bantay Kalikasan program.

 

ACIRC BANTAY KALIKASAN CESAR CRUZ COMMUNITY G ECO TOURS LINGKOD KAPAMILYA FOUNDATION LINGKOD KAPAMILYA FOUNDATION INC PALAWAN AND SARANGANI PHILIPPINE TOUR OPERATORS ASSOCIATION PUERTO PRINCESA REGINA LOPEZ
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