Issuu on Google+

Kalibo, Aklan and Pandan, Antique Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism Copyright Š 2005 Philippines-Canada Local Government Support Program (LGSP) The Philippines-Canada Local Government Support Program encourages the use, translation, adaptation and copying of this material for non-commercial use, with appropriate credit given to LGSP. Although reasonable care has been taken in the preparation of this book, neither the publisher and/or contributor and/or editor can accept any liability for any consequence arising from the use thereof or from any information contained herein. Printed and bound in Manila, Philippines Published by: Philippines-Canada Local Government Support Program Unit 1507 Jollibee Plaza Emerald Ave., Pasig City 1600 Philippines Tel. Nos. (632) 637-3511 to 13 www.lgsp.org.ph This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE

Philippines-Canada Local Government Support Program (LGSP) Documentation of LGU Exemplary Practices

Replicable Practice

CELEBRATING NATURE, CULTURE AND COMMUNITY: COMMUNITY-BASED ECOTOURISM IN KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE (1ST AND 3RD CLASS MUNICIPALITIES)

Contents Summary

2

Project Description: Identifying ecotourism as a poverty alleviation strategy

3

Project History: Translating a regional vision and operationalizing local tourism master plans

4

Results: Celebrating local color and natural wealth

6

Key Implementation Steps

7

Analysis and Lessons Learned

21

Annex: Annex A: Sample Brochure

November 2005

1


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE

SUMMARY CBET or Community-Based Ecotourism is a participatory ecotourism initiative implemented by the local government units of Kalibo, Aklan and Pandan, Antique. The project aims to build and enhance the two town’s tourism potentials towards addressing poverty while ensuring the protection of the environment through multi-sectoral partnership. Initiated in 2003 with assistance of the Philippines-Canada Local Government Support Program (LGSP), the project assisted the two towns to develop environment-friendly tour packages around their rich local culture and natural resources. By 2004, both municipalities were marketing a set of viable and sustainable ecotourism packages. Kalibo’s tourism package featured the town’s local crafts and culture while Pandan’s tourism experience offered the town’s dramatic landscapes and seascapes. Kalibo’s tour package was entitled “Manggad it Kalibo” (English translation: Wealth of Kalibo) which featured the town’s pina weaving industry, a Bakhawan eco-park walk (mangrove reserve) and an ati-atihan village. Kalibo’s initiative has since been tagged the first successful community-based ecotourism project in an urban center. Pandan, on the other hand, showcased four tourism products that included the Bugang River and nature tour, Pandan folklore and cultural experience, a low elevation rainforest and scientific tour, and a coastal village and sea experience. The Pandan and Kalibo ecotourism products are now being marketed together for local and foreign tourists as a “nature and culture” ecotourism experience. After a year of implementation, both towns reported significant gains from the project. Through CBET, the two LGUs managed to raise local incomes, provide alternative livelihood, improve the town’s tourism management skills, generate employment, encourage active community participation and bring back local pride. The experience of Kalibo and Pandan in ecotourism shows an exemplary governance practice that other LGUs may want to replicate.

November 2005

2


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE

Project Description: Identifying ecotourism as a poverty alleviation strategy The municipalities of Pandan and Kalibo are about 55 kilometers from each other, joined by a national road that connects the provinces of Antique and Aklan. Kalibo is a bustling rapidly urbanizing first class municipality that is at the heart and is the capital town of Aklan. Pandan, on the other hand, is one of 18 municipalities of Antique and is a rural third class municipality near Boracay, a world-class tourist destination. Basic Profile: Kalibo, Aklan Location: Center of all coastal municipalities of Aklan province Land Area: 575 000 hectares Population: 62,438 (2000)/ 65,425 (2004) Population growth: 1.46% Income class: First Class IRA: Php 41.8 M (2004) Local Revenues: Php 39 M No. of barangays: 16 Land Use: 66% agriculture, 20% residential, 14% commercial/residential / institutional and open space Major industries/economic activities: farming, trading, tourism Natural resources: pina fiber, coastal and marine resources Other interesting features: major tourism gateway to Boracay, center of pina fiber; famous for its ati-atihan festival

Despite differences in socio-economic profiles, poverty is a problem common to both municipalities. Basic Profile: Pandan, Antique Location: Northern part of the province of Antique, last town bordering Aklan Land Area: 15,375.68 hectares Population: 27,638 (2000) Population growth: 0.89% Ave. HH size: 5 Income class: Forth Class IRA: Php 26.1 M Local Revenues: Php 2.6 M No. of barangays: 34 General Land Use: 40.88% Agriculture, .51% Tourism, .63% Residential, 42.24% Protected Forest (Unclassified) Major industries/economic activities: farming, fishing and cottage industries

The municipal governments of Kalibo and Pandan saw tourism as a viable way of addressing poverty in their towns by offering alternative livelihoods. Kalibo was not new to tourism initiatives given its annual Ati-atihan festival. However, it recognized that it was offering only a seasonal attraction. It also had limited activities and facilities that discouraged tourists from staying overnight. Its tourism activities also did not provide adequate alternative livelihood to the community. Pandan, on the other hand, was less experienced in implementing a tourism program. At the same time, both LGUs recognized that they had limited resources and limited skills and knowledge on new tourism approaches. They also believed they had inadequate institutional capabilities and limited linkages with internal stakeholders and external tourism-focused organizations.

November 2005

3


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE

Despite these concerns, their tourism masterplans provided the direction for the kind of tourism they wanted to implement. Both LGUs wanted to develop a tourism program that was sustainable and respectful of nature. Their concern for an environment-friendly approach was a result of their years of involvement in implementing strong environmental protection and conservation programs and participating in Sustainable Integrated Area Development (SIAD) projects with different groups (e.g., Endemic Species Conservation Project, coastal resource management projects). At the same time, they wanted an approach that would revive traditional cottage industries passed from generation to generation, such as pina, abaca weaving, and bariw crafts, but were dying because of lack of market. However, ecotourism posed a difficult challenge to the two LGUs because a large number of their residents depended on the utilization of natural resources such as unsustainable dynamite fishing for their livelihood. They thus wanted an approach which could provide very clear alternative livelihoods to their local residents, especially those who depended on these resources for a living. Kalibo and Pandan were therefore inclined to develop sustainable ecotourism programs that would address all these concerns. In 2003, with the assistance of the Philippines-Canada Local Government Support Program (LGSP), the Municipalities of Pandan and Kalibo, under Mayors Plaridel Sanchez VI and Raymar Rebaldo respectively, implemented CBET in their towns. Project objectives

Given their local concerns, both LGUs worked to formulate a community based ecotourism (CBET) package for their towns which aimed to: 1. Maximize their tourism potentials in a way that is economically, socially, culturally and environmentally viable, 2. Provide their constituents, particularly the unemployed and underemployed, with alternative livelihood, 3. Enhance the coordination and partnerships between LGUs, (Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Peoples Organizations (Pos) in environment protection and conservation and 4. Promote the appreciation of local culture and heritage.

Project History: Translating a regional vision and operationalizing local tourism master plans In 2002, the Western Visayas Development Plan identified tourism and agriculture as the region’s major development thrusts. This encouraged many

November 2005

4


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE

LGUs in Panay Island, Kalibo and Pandan among them, to include tourism development in their executive agenda. Why adopt Ecotourism as a local development strategy? Because community-based ecotourism (CBET) approach has the following characteristics: a. Low capital requirements. CBET ensures that the use of natural environment is sustainable. It also sustains local culture and traditional industries. Infrastructure requirements are kept to a minimum and are built using indigenous materials. Thus CBET has lower capital requirements than traditional tourism approaches. b. Distributes most of the profit from activities to the community. Since the tour packages are handled and operated by the community, incomes mostly stay with the people. c. Builds the capacities of the community, through the transfer of skills and knowledge on the tourism development and promotion and their participation and collaboration in all phases of the project. d. Ensures sustainability of the project through community ownership and management. e. Minimizes negative impact on nature and culture f. Educates the community as well as the tourists on environmental protection and conservation and respect for local culture and indigenous practices. g. One of the fastest growing industries in the world. It has a lucrative niche market that represents 2-4% of all travel expenditures according to a WTO estimate. A study also shows that ecotourists are higher spenders.

Known for its rich cultural tradition and beautiful coastal resources, the island of Panay prides itself for its colorful festivals held in its four provinces annually: Iloilo has its Dinagyang; Capiz has the Halaran, Aklan has the Kalibo Ati-atihan Festival, and Antique, the Binirayan. These festivals, however, tend to draw tourists only once a year and only to the provincial capitals. Small communities and hintertowns like Pandan, Antique do not always directly benefit from these festivals. These towns, however, have realized that with Kalibo’s world renowned Ati-atihan Festival and their proximity to breathtaking Boracay, their localities could be developed as additional tourist spots as well. The growing recognition of the role of tourism in the development of Western Visayas also prompted LGSP to implement a capacity-building project entitled “Tourism Development and Promotion Program� in 2003.

Pandan and Kalibo were among eleven (11) LGUs in the region that participated in this program. The LGSP project aimed to enhance the capacities of LGUs in the region to undertake CBET and develop environment-friendly tour packages. It encouraged both towns to operationalize their tourism master plans and offer concrete tourism products.

November 2005

5


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE

After almost a year’s work in product development through CBET, Kalibo and Pandan launched their ecotourism packages in March 2004.

Results: Celebrating local color and natural wealth By October 2004, the two towns reported very concrete gains from the project, including: •

Alternative livelihood and additional income for community-based organizations and individuals. Through their assistance in providing transportation, cultural performances, special demonstrations, catering, tour guiding and tour management, community residents were provided additional income. From its initial operations, Pandan and Kalibo reported that 86 and 90 direct beneficiaries respectively have already benefited from the project. These include tricycle drivers, pina-weavers, ati-atihan village community and tour guides. Indirect beneficiaries include lodging houses, restaurants, novelty shops, commercial establishments and other businesses in the area. Moreover, the people’s organizations that manage the tours have earned as much as P17, 500 from a year of tour operation. Sales in Kalibo reached Php 104,484.55 in October 2004. At around that time, Pandan completed nine tours with gross sales of P93,000. Because the operators and managers were from the local community, the unemployed and the underemployed were also being provided livelihood. It also meant that a bigger portion of profits was being enjoyed by members of the local community instead of by big businesses not locally owned.

Deeper appreciation for environment and culture-friendly tourism approaches. The project also enabled a re-orientation of tourism approaches among local stakeholders. A shift in local tourism practices was reported--- from one that was highly capital intensive to a practice with low capital requirements, from an initiative that was environmentally and culturally damaging to one that was more ecological and people-friendly.

Improved participation of stakeholders, POs and CSOs/NGOs in all management processes of the project. By involving multi-stakeholders in product development and implementation, citizen participation was enhanced ensuring the project’s long-term sustainability and the successful transfer of skills and knowledge

November 2005

6


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE

on the various aspects of tourism development and promotion to the partners. •

Reinvigorated/ re-energized tourism development and promotion At the municipal level, the Local Tourism Council and the Municipal Tourism Office were re-oriented towards ecology-friendly, community-based tourism. At the community level, existing people’s organizations (POs), product operators and managers, civil society organizations (CSOs), private operators of business establishments and NGOs also availed of LGU sponsored tourism-related training sessions and participated in the various stages of the project

Key Implementation Steps For replicating LGUs, the steps to take to implement a similar project are: 1. Building consensus on the proposed project The legislative and executive branches of the replicating LGU must be one in their support of CBET. This means revisiting the LGU Tourism plan, local development plan and/or Executive and Legislative Agenda to determine if tourism is a priority. If tourism is a priority program, a consensus to take an ecotourism approach must be reached as well. Building support for such a project can be done in many ways, including developing the town’s tourism masterplan, studying the benefits of ecotourism or participating in capacity building programs on environmental management. Another effective way to solidify LGU support for ecotourism is conducting a Lakbay Aral or study tour to Pandan and Kalibo if resources are available for such. In the case of Pandan and Kalibo, LGU consensus and support for CBET was solidified through their participation in the LGSP program and the series of multi-sectoral consultations which they held towards developing their tourism master plans. 2. Organizing/ strengthening municipal institutions directly involved in tourism-related services. The next step involves ensuring that the appropriate management or implementing structures are in place. This involves the following tasks:

November 2005

7


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE

2.1 Creating or, if already existing, strengthening the Tourism Office. The replicating LGU will appoint a Tourism Officer if there is none designated, or create a tourism office and provide a physical center if budget and facilities are available. 2.2 Organizing/strengthening the Local Tourism Council and getting the consensus of local stakeholders for the Project 2.3 Organizing the CBET core team (through an Executive Order, for example) composed of: Municipal Tourism Officer or designate Representative of the Municipal Planning & Development Office Chairperson of the SB committee on Tourism Municipal Engineer/ Environment Officer Private Sector and CSO Representatives of the Municipal Tourism Council In the case of Pandan and Kalibo, a similar implementing structure was used by both LGUs in implementing the project. The mayor of each town assigned a Tourism Officer to oversee project implementation. Then an Executive Order was issued to constitute a Core Team composed of the Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator, the Tourism Officer, the chairperson of the SB Committee on Tourism, representatives of civil society and resort owners and other selected local functionaries. This team was tasked to spearhead the implementation of the Community-based Ecotourism in these municipalities. 3. Providing an orientation on ecotourism concepts for the CBET core team and local tourism institutions that make up the CBET implementing and management structures. The tourism council and CBET core team are then provided the necessary skills and knowledge needed to implement communitybased ecotourism. Experts on ecotourism may be tapped from the Department of Tourism, Department of Environment and Natural Resources or from the Kalibo and Pandan LGUs to give this orientation or training. Topics to be covered in this orientation include: Ecotourism as an approach and how it differs from the traditional tourism approaches, identifying areas and potentials of ecotourism, Integrating cottage industry and the local economy in the tourism program and Marketing and promotions techniques

November 2005

8


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE

4. Identifying potential ecotourism sites that can be developed and conducting site validation and stakeholders consultations/workshops on the proposed ecotourism sites With the Municipal Development Plan as a main reference, the replicating LGU identifies areas in the municipality/city that have the potential of becoming ecotourism sites. Then, ocular inspections and consultation workshops with community stakeholders in these areas are conducted. It is a good idea for the replicating LGU to invite people’s organizations and small businesses in the community to participate in these consultations. The community consultation workshop goes through the following content: • Orientation on community-based ecotourism • Gathering stakeholders expectations from Tourism: 1) for self/family; 2) for the community for the environment; 3) for visitors/tourists, what stakeholders do not want from tourism in terms of a) self/family b) community c) environment d) visitors? • Defining the total ecotourism experience: The assets: 1) what to see 2) what to know 3) what to do 4) what to eat/drink 5) where to stay 5) what to bring (souvenirs) • Action planning: tasks and roles and responsibilities The workshops with community stakeholders taps the communities’ local knowledge on the state of existing natural resources as well as crafts and cultures in the area. These are then woven together into an interesting product concept and tour package which will include: What the community wants visitors to experience, How these will be translated to tour activities or souvenirs and What materials, infrastructure and facilities are needed At the same time, tasking in relation to developing various aspects of product is done during the consultation workshop. Also, community organizations are encouraged to take on as many tasks as they can in order to promote community ownership for the project. The Kalibo CBET identified 3 possible tourism sites. Pandan CBET identified four sites, which they wanted to develop. Then the core teams conducted ocular validations. With the assistance of coaches, groups in the community were organized and consultations were conducted. In these community consultations, the tourism products in each site were identified and a complete tourism experience for November 2005

9


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE

each site was developed (what to see, food, souvenirs, accommodations). Participants then identified tasks and took on specific responsibilities. Coaches followed up their progress on the tasks. 5. Mobilizing resources for product and site development After developing the concept, the CBET core team mobilizes funds for the construction of the necessary infrastructure and facilities needed in the site. The LGU can source funds internally or externally. National government agencies can be tapped for funds and technical support. The LGU can also develop its tourism product along already developed sites in their locality, which was what Kalibo did with the Bakhawan Park. In both Pandan and Kalibo, the municipal governments provided initial resources. Financial and non-monetary commitments were also solicited from the provincial government through its tourism office. It also got some non-monetary support from the private sector as well as from CSOs and NGOs and from the community. Pandan was also able to access funds from an organization of Pandananons living abroad. LGSP provided 50,000 initial funds for this demonstration project. 6. Setting up necessary infrastructures and facilities Community stakeholders then begin to build the structures and facilities needed for the ecotourism experience. If there are large financial requirements for required infrastructure or facilities, construction can be staggered and implemented in stages. In the case of Pandan and Kalibo, interpretive centers (where initial orientations are done and exhibits are placed), rest and picnic areas, comfort rooms, foot walks and trails were constructed. Hosts for home stays were identified. The structures and facilities were designed to minimize negative environmental impact and maintain the natural beauty of the area.

November 2005

10


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE

The community provided local materials and labor for construction as their counterpart. 7. Establishing enterprise management systems for the ecotourism package This is a two-step process which includes: 7.1 Inviting local experts to give a tour management and interpretive guiding training to community organizations that will be involved in the project. The expected output of the training is a workable Tour Management Plan which includes detailed strategies on: • • • • • •

Marketing (costing and pricing, sales and reservations, promotion, distribution and marketing channels) Tour Operation and Service Delivery (Reservations/booking, tour preparation, tour proper-including tour guiding and interpretation, post-tour) Financial Management Human Resource Management Organizational Management Operationalizing the Tour Management Plan

7.2 Coordinating and finalizing arrangements with transport operators, cultural performers, and caterers. At this stage, the core team ensures that all operational and administrative systems are ready, including the necessary financial forms, receipts and books of accounts. Management and staff roles and functions should be finalized as well. In the case of Pandan and Kalibo, an LGSP project consultant provided a 2-day product development workshop which included a local tour and coaching on product concept, tour flow and site development. A short training course was also provided on the following topics. Interpretative guiding Tour management Skills training on souvenir craft and Tour packaging

November 2005

11


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE

Kalibo’s tour package included the town’s pina weaving industry, a Bakhawan eco-park walk (mangrove reserve) and an atiatihan village.

Pandan, on the other hand, was able to develop 4 tourism products including the Bugang River and nature tour, Pandan Folklore and cultural experience, a low elevation rainforest and scientific tour, and a coastal village and sea experience. 8. Conducting product test runs and facilitating product fine tuning Under this step, CBET implementers conducts a test run by inviting representatives from the private sector especially those involved in local tourism (e.g. travel agents, possible clients) to experience the tour. The test run ends with an evaluation and a gathering of suggestions from participants on how the tour can be improved. Several test runs can be done to fine-tune the experience. On an agreed schedule, the LGUs of Kalibo and Pandan conducted test runs of their tour package with the local tourism core team, LGSP consultants, DOT and DENR representatives, as well as representatives from nearby CBET areas posing as tourists. Each run ended with an assessment of the tour. Feedback from participants was used to improve the tours.

November 2005

12


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE

9. Launching the tourism product Then, the LGU launches the product by holding a big ceremony or by offering a complete tour to the public. Representatives from market channels, people who could bring in possible clients, government officials, representatives from Department of Tourism, donors agencies, civil society organizations, the private sector, media and other stakeholders are invited to this launch. Kalibo and Pandan officially launched their products on March 15 and 24, 2004, respectively. This was participated by travel operators, DOT and DENR representatives, LGSP and LGU representatives, media and participants from SMART Communications. A special product launch dubbed “Ocho-Ocho� for the 8 tourism products of Panay was also held in Manila under the sponsorship of SMART Communications. 10.

Developing promotional materials using tri-media

To promote the tours, CBET implementers also undertake marketing and promotional activities using tri-media. In the case of Pandan and Kalibo, their CBET core teams designed low-cost brochures and flyers to promote their tourism products. (See Annex A for a sample brochure) These were given to tour companies, travel agents and others. They also made public presentations to various stakeholders. The tourism products were featured in major national newspapers, tourism-oriented magazines and in-flight magazines. Kalibo also showcased these tours in their website. Their tours are currently being promoted by Smart Telecom, Mabuhay (PAL), and Asian Spirit and are advertised in websites of ecotourism proponents: Responsible Cultural Experiences and Asian Encounters. Aggressive marketing of the tourism product should be undertaken by replicating LGUs. The success of Kalibo and Pandan depended largely on their abilities and commitment in promoting their tours locally and internationally.

November 2005

13


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE

11. Operating the ecotours and conducting regular monitoring and evaluation (M& E) Regular monitoring and evaluation activities are important so that problems can be addressed as the community learns to perfect the tour. It also provides information on yearly trends (e.g. peak and offpeak seasons) for strategic planning purposes. An M & E system needs to be developed at two levels: 11.1 Operational monitoring: This is undertaken by the people’s organization tasked to manage the tour. Feedbacking mechanisms should be integrated in the tourism experience to monitor client satisfaction. The PO managing the tour must also generate regular financial and operating reports to determine the profitability of the project. 11.2 Institutional level monitoring: Monthly/quarterly meetings are conducted by the LGU tourism officer and the community-based tour managers. The LGU is thus able to obtain information useful for possible replication of the experience to other local sites and for the LGU to identify possible interventions or support towards product improvement. The importance of monitoring and evaluation and the continuous coaching of community organizations, particularly during the first operating cycle of the tour package, should be emphasized. M & E is often forgotten in project implementation. The continuity of the tour package depends on how it adapts to the changing needs of its clients. By October 2004, Kalibo was able to conduct 12 tours for domestic and international tourists (China, USA) and had recorded sales of P104,484.55. This initiative has since been tagged the first successful community-based ecotourism project in an urban center. At around that time, Pandan completed nine tours with gross sales of P93,000. Former Department of Tourism Richard Gordon also came to visit Kalibo, and was quoted to have said “I have found gold in these projects, and we will mine this gold� Maintaining the CBET project after its initial run required constant monitoring by the tourism management structures of both towns. The two towns ensured that there was regular feedbacking between

November 2005

14


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE

and among project stakeholders including the local tourism core team. 12. Ensuring project sustainability Finally, it is crucial to sustain the gains achieved. Based on the Kalibo and Pandan experience, sustaining project gains involve the following: 12.1 Addressing problems that arise promptly Aside from difficulties in fund sourcing, other problems were encountered in the implementation of the CBET project. Kalibo had to work very hard to link with possible sources of funds and to get the full commitment of community organizations. Organizing the community was also a difficult task because the communities were very poor and beset with social problems such as drugs and petty crimes. Because of limited funds, it was also difficult to keep an adequate number of personnel that could continue to manage the project. These problems, however, had to be addressed with diligence and commitment. Encouraging active community participation in finding solutions to problems also proved critical. 12.2 Undertaking continuous product development

Product development activities should be continuously undertaken. In the case of Kalibo, for instance, souvenir crafts making workshops were conducted to maximize the benefits from the influx of tourists.

12.3 Ensuring community ownership for the project Community and civil society participation has to be encouraged throughout the various stages of CBET. The community is asked to directly manage the tours themselves. By doing so, the people

November 2005

15


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE

develop a strong sense of ownership and responsibility for the project. As Kalibo and Pandan experienced, sustaining gains depended on community ownership and how effectively the communities were mobilized. Broad participation of community representatives, were ensured in all aspects of the project. 12.4 Enhancing ecological and cultural appreciation among project stakeholders and the community as a whole It is also necessary to build a strong ecological and cultural consciousness in the community that is founded on a strong respect and appreciation for the need to preserve the natural environment and local culture. With such consciousness in the community, tourism becomes constructive and self-sustaining. As a result, a paradigm shift must also occur among the locals. While in the past, livelihood and survival meant over-utilizing or even destroying natural resources to accommodate economic activities, locals have to be more fully appreciative of the need to preserve and conserve natural resources for long term gains. Sustainable use of resources thus needs to cease to be mere concepts to the community if CBET is to take off in a community. Community organizing around environmental projects may then be critical prerequisite to the sustainability of ecotourism. A shift in the concept of resource utilization in the community level should also be cultivated. Livelihood and survival need not translate to environment degradation. 12.5 Continuing to network and establishing strong linkages with various sectors Because the tour package is developed by the community based on the actual potentials and situation verbalized by the people of the locality through consultations, the LGU is able to work with partners in realizing the plan and in sustaining the initiative. Links between CSOs, NGOs, POs, private sector, national government agencies and the LGU can be enhanced during project implementation, and is important towards sustaining the project. Given that the operationalization of tour packages happen at the community level, concrete changes in the community also emerge. Communities become equipped to continue operating the tours by themselves with minimal support from the LGU. Moreover, this

November 2005

16


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE

endeavor requires a relatively minimal investment making replication of the same initiative to other potential areas easier. In fact, Pandan developed one of its tourism circuits with a minimal capitalization of roughly P100, 000 and is making plans to develop two more: an educational tour and a shorefront tour circuit. Kalibo is currently conceptualizing a historical tour in another part of the municipality. Matrix on Key Implementation Steps Key Implementation Steps

Expected Outputs

TimeFrame

Person/ Agency Responsible

Budget/ Resources Required

1.

Build consensus on the proposed project.

Consensus and support within the LGU to implement the project

1 week-1 month

Mayor’s office

Project champion, time and budget for a lakbay aral (optional)

2.

Organize / strengthen municipal institutions directly involved in tourism-related services.

Municipal institutions set up and ready to undertake the project

1 week

Mayor’s Office

3.

Provide an orientation on ecotourism concepts to the CBET core team and other CBET implementing and management structures. Identify potential ecotourism sites that you can develop based on your Municipal Tourism Plan or Municipal Development Plan then conduct site validation and stakeholders consultation on the proposed ecotourism sites

Deep understanding and appreciation of CBET

1-2 days

CBET Core Team/Tourism Office

LGU support, physical space for tourism office, support of civil society organizations and private sector Budget for orientation: honorarium/gifts for, food for participants

Ecotourism sites identified

2-3 months: 1 day workshop and the rest community organizing and coaching.

CBET Core Team/Tourism Office

Variable

CBET Core Team/Tourism Office Community organizations, private sector involved in tourism, cottage industries CBET Core Team/Tourism Office Community organizations, private sector involved in tourism, cottage industries

4.

5.

Mobilize resources for product and infrastructure development

6.

Set up necessary infrastructures and facilities

November 2005

Ocular inspection conducted Local stakeholders validation and consultation workshop conducted Commitment and support of community organizations Available funds and technical expertise for site development

Structures and facilities in the tourism site set up

Variable

Community organizations, private sector involved in tourism, cottage industries

Budget for ocular validation by the CBET team and the consultation workshops

Budget for site development

Infrastructure constructed, facilities set up

17


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE Key Implementation Steps

Expected Outputs

TimeFrame

Person/ Agency Responsible

Budget/ Resources Required

7.

Establish enterprise management systems for your ecotourism package

Management systems set up

Two months or less

CBET Core Team/Tourism Office Community organizations, private sector involved in tourism, cottage industries

Active community participation, speakers on tourism product development, budget for skills training. DOT experts may also be tapped.

8.

Conduct product test runs and facilitate product fine tuning

Tourism product tested and fine-tuned

Two weeks/ or variable depending on number of test runs

Budget for the test runs( food, transportation), active community participation

9.

Launch the Product

Tourism package launched

Variable

10. Develop promotional materials

Availability of promotional materials in different media

Variable

11. Operate and Conduct Regular Monitoring and Evaluation (M& E)

Regular monitoring and evaluation conducted; and monitoring reports on profits and performance available

Continuous

12. Ensure project sustainability

Ecotourism product viewed as viable and sustainable

Continuous

CBET Core Team/Tourism Office Community organizations, private sector involved in tourism, cottage industries CBET Core Team/Tourism Office Community organizations, private sector involved in tourism, cottage industries CBET Core Team/Tourism Office Community organizations, private sector involved in tourism, cottage industries CBET Core Team/Tourism Office Community organizations, private sector involved in tourism, cottage industries CBET Core Team/Tourism Office Community organizations, private sector involved in tourism, cottage industries

Strong networks, active community participation

November 2005

Budget for launching, active community participation

Technical expertise on promotional materials, budget for materials

Active community participation, commitment of Tourism Office

Active community participation, commitment of Tourism Office

18


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE

Analysis and Lessons Learned As the experience of Kalibo and Pandan shows, ecotourism can be a viable and sustainable poverty alleviation and development program for LGUs. It is also a participative approach of preserving nature and local cultures. CBET can thus be replicated by any class of LGU that have potential ecotourism sites. Below are other lessons and insights of the Kalibo and Pandan CBET stakeholders in undertaking the project that can inform its replication for other LGUs. • Tourism as a poverty alleviation scheme must be one of the primary thrusts of the local government if support from the LGU is desired. Note that other municipalities have managed to implement CBET without LGU support. • A paradigm shift in the orientation of the LGUs must happen. The LGU should consider itself as a facilitator in service provision. It should endeavor to provide quality basic services while developing and empowering the people to be self-sufficient. Hence, in ecotourism, the LGU’s role is not to manage the tour package but to enable the community to do it themselves. • If the tourism experience of the LGU is limited, there is a need for the LGU to find the right project coach and to put together a dedicated and tourism core group representing key sectors of the community. • The carrying capacity (the ideal / suitable number of guests at any given time) of the sites should be determined and followed. This means that the correct tourism project should be identified. This also ensures maintenance of the ecological viability, maximization of client satisfaction as well as safety of the visiting tourists. • If a Municipal Tourism Masterplan is to be developed, the LGU can refer to the National Ecotourism Strategic Plan. In doing so, the tourism circuits developed could be included in the national listing of CBET destinations. • Capacity building trainings, seminars and workshops should fit the absorptive capacity of the participants. Simplifying concepts and procedures and making activities interesting and fun would encourage participation and make the learning process faster. • Safety of the tourists has to be ensured. Safety measures such as life jackets, lifeguards and first aid, and safety personnel such as scouts, guides and rescue teams should be available.

November 2005

19


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE

Annex A: Sample Brochure

November 2005

20


Celebrating Nature, Culture and Community: Community-Based Ecotourism KALIBO, AKLAN & PANDAN, ANTIQUE

November 2005

21


http://www.lgspa.org.ph/uploads/KnowledgeProduct_39_302_Pandan&Kalibo%20Nov%202005