Shore protection pushed as a priority before promoting Philippines as surfing site

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Environmental advocates are urging the protection of Philippine shores before the promotion of the country’s emerging surf destinations.

“If we are going to develop surf tourism we need to work on the environment first,” Joey Cornelio said in a forum organized by the Asian Institute of Management.

Cornelio said the country’s surfing industry is fast-booming, as seen in the growing number of students enrolling in surfing lessons.

“I don’t think the instructors can handle the number of students,” Cornelio said.

In line with developing the surfing industry’s infrastructure, environmental education advocate Mary Ann Lucille Sering said proper infrastructure should be built around the surfing destination as most surfers prefer the natural setup.

Sering, who focused on the island of Siargao in Surigao del Norte, said the continued promotion of the island is attracting more tourists, most of them non-surfers.

Based on earlier reports, Siargao recorded an estimated 55,735 tourist arrivals from January to June 2017, comprising 40,421 local visitors and 15,314 foreign guests.

Sering claims that around 94 to 96 percent of the arrivals in Siargao are non-surfers.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) said it is high time for the country to implement a surfing industry roadmap.

Siargao has gained attention as a surf destination from both local and international travelers in recent years.

Last August, Conde Nast Traveler ranked Cloud Nine in Siargao Island as the fifth best surfing spot in the world, due to its thick hollow tube waves.

The travel magazine also cited Jacking Horse located in the same island as an alternative surfing destination, which is approximately 330 yards away.

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