Freeman Cebu Business

Capitol to further develop Cebu’s eco-tourism edge

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu Province will introduce more programs to further polish the eco-tourism edge of the province to boost the capacity of the towns and municipalities to rake in more revenues from tourism.

Patria Aurora "Dawnie" Roa, consultant for the committee on tourism and international affairs, said that Cebu tourism needs to maximize the opportunity ushered in by eco-tourism related destinations as it is now gaining ground among modern travelers.

Apart from the active efforts exerted by towns and city officials in developing their respective eco-tourism advantage, the contributions of the private sector are also well recognized, one of which is the soon to open 400-hectare Theme Park in Carmen, Cebu.

The theme park owned by businessman Michel Lhuillier, could be a "grand tourism" jewel that will give boost to Cebu as a destination.

"It’s a destination by itself already," Roa said referring to Lhuillier's theme park, which is said to have farms, zoo, accommodation  facilities, nature tripping, among others.

Roa said the "Suroy-Suroy sa Sugbo" program is also evolving to offer nature trips, soft adventure, aside from the traditional tourism offerings in the towns.

"The towns are finding their assets and developing what they have," Roa said mentioning  Samboan, Alegria, Oslob, towns in Bantayan and Camotes islands which are also now catching up in terms of capitalizing on their resources for tourism advantage.

  In Central Visayas,  top 10 eco-tourism sites include; Camotes island, Bantayan Island and Wildlife Area, Central Cebu Protected Area, Guadalupe Mainit-Mabugnaw Spring in CarCar-Cebu, Chocolate Hills, Rajah Sikatuna Protective Landscape in Bohol, Twin Lakes Balinsasayao in Negros Oriental, Apo Island, Lobok-Mabini-Anda corridor in Bohol, and Olango Island Sanctuary.

The Philippines has started to push the development of eco-tourism with different monetary and program supports are initiated by government agencies, such as DOT, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and others.

The concept of eco tourism, based on the UNWTO, is heavily focused on involving the community in the development of tourism, promoting eco-tourism more than a product, but more on supporting the local economy and generate income and open up job opportunities. (FREEMAN)

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