Simply describing Palawan as beautiful does not give justice to it. the It has been awarded the ‘World’s Best Island’ in 2017 by a well-known international travel magazine. With its abundant biodiversity, rich culture, breathtaking spots, hospitable people, it is undeniably true that Palawan is a paradise, a must-go for every tourist.
Zooming in lies Puerto Princesa, a city that has gone through a long journey from an environmentally-degraded city into one of the major ecotourism sites around the world. Add the fact that the city houses the famous Puerto Princesa Underground River, provisionally chosen as one of the New7Wonders of Nature in 2011.
Part of the government’s objectives is to maintain a sustainable tourism that will serve as a livelihood for its people and promote economic development. To obtain this, the local government of Puerto Princesa City initiated the community-based ecotourism in Brgy. Buenavista.
Community-based ecotourism is a form of ecotourism that emphasizes the development of local communities and allows local residents to have substantial control over and involvement in its development and management, and also a major proportion of the benefits within the community.
This form of ecotourism allows the participants of the cooperative to share the environment and their way of life with visitors. While increasing local income and building local economies, community-based tourism allows communities to participate in the modern global economy while cultivating a sustainable source of income and maintaining their way of life.
Participants are now empowered through local leadership by creating plans and encouraging clear and transparent decision-making. Community members actively make decisions on strategies and acceptable levels of tourism based upon the community’s culture, heritage, and vision. Strategies also equip local communities with the tools and knowledge necessary for decision-making, and to build effective structures to enable the community to influence, manage, and benefit from ecotourism development and practice.
Puerto Princesa, the Eco-Tourism Center of the Philippines, received a remarkable increase in the number of tourists in the past few years bringing with them trade and businesses in the city. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in partnership with Local Government Unit, began the community-based ecotourism as part of supporting the advocacy of the municipality. They designed the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) to alleviate poverty through livelihood projects and employment facilitation. Community-based ecotourism in Palawan proved the power of sustainable livelihood and biodiversity conservation to alleviate rural poverty.
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