Guimaras eyeing eco-friendly tourism development

Ghio Ong - The Philippine Star
Guimaras eyeing eco-friendly tourism development
Participants in the Winter Escapade Tours visit the Guimaras Wind Farm in San Lorenzo town on Wednesday.
Ghio Ong

GUIMARAS, Philippines — The local government of the island-province of Guimaras is aiming for an eco-friendly tourism development, with special focus on agricultural as well as health and wellness prgrams.

Guimaras takes pride in having more greenery than its neighbor Iloilo, according to provincial boardmember Felipe Nava, chairman of the board’s tourism, history and culture committee.

Nava said the provincial government does not allow entry of major industries as it wants to focus on agricultural and eco-tourism programs.

“We still have more greens – I think that is one of our attractions. The thrust of the local government is to focus on agricultural and eco-tourism… we do not want big industries to come in,” Nava, former governor of Guimaras, said during a lunch prepared for participants of the Winter Escapade Tour program on Wednesday.

Guimaras does not have major beaches, but it has small coves, which makes travel experience for tourists more personal, he said.

The local government wants to make Guimaras a health and wellness hub and attract retirees.

Guimaras is looking forward to the construction of bridges that will link the island-province to its neighbor-islands of Panay and Negros.

The project is in the pipeline of the Department of Public Works and Highways and construction will start next year.

”We hope that before the end of 2030, a bridge connecting Iloilo and Guimaras is completed,” Nava said.

He said the bridge would bring more development and challenges to the province and its people.

“We have to control the entry of major industries. We only want eco-friendly investments. We do not want big investments because Guimaras is a small island ecosystem,” Nava said.

Guimaras received a total of 707,448 same-day and 133,818 overnight visitors in 2023.

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