Twenty two ecotourism sites have been established under the Integrated Coastal Resource Management project (ICRMP), a GEF and ADB funded initiative being implemented jointly by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). They were selected using a set of criteria that takes into consideration not only the integrity and drawing power of the natural ecosystems. They were also selected because of the readiness of the community for tourism development. However, since these sites are mostly off the radar, the people are poor and marginalized. In some places there is no option for visitors but to stay at Nature Village, the camp site established by the project, or to be accommodated at the private homes of the members of the community. Some are way ahead of the others such that small inns and pension houses are available, and access, as well as infrastructure are more developed.
Ecotourism under the ICRMP is viewed as an economic intervention that has the potential to strengthen conservation of natural assets of a community. Ecotourism is a non extractive industry that promotes responsible travel and highly education and life-changing experiences. Ecotourism is not for everyone. However, everyone is encouraged to try it so that they can come out of the experience more enlightened on why poor communities need to be part of tourism development.
This site aims to provide information to ecotourism proponents and the academe on framework, tools and strategies used for the ICRMP sites with the hope that best practices may be replicated.
Chen Reyes-Mencias Project team leader 09272795807 firstname.lastname@example.org