DOT eyes community-based tourism dev’t in Zambo City

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/24 January) – To provide alternative sources of income to host communities, the Department of Tourism (DOT) will conduct a training on community-based tourism in this southern port city.

DOT Senior Tourism Operations Officer Marilou Silorio said Monday the training, which will be held on January 28 and 29, is designed to orient and level off understanding on tourism among members of the city’s newly created multi-sectoral committee on ecotourism.

Silorio said the training, which will be held in partnership with the local government, is also aimed to develop criteria that will serve as basis for assessing and prioritizing the potential sites for tourism development.

The committee has so far identified six potential eco-tourism sites in this city for further assessment and evaluation for possible development.

These are the waterfalls in Barangay Dulian-Upper Bunguiao, Merloquet falls in Barangay Sibulao, Nancy falls in Barangay La Paz, Busay waterfalls in Barangay San Roque, Salaan cave in Barangay Salaan, and, Manicahan cave in Barangay Manicahan.

“The most viable approach to develop these identified areas is through community-based toursim, thus the conduct of the two-day training,” Silorio said.

Community-based tourism is a responsible type of tourism that seeks to involve host communities like the six identified ecotourism sites, she said.

She said community-based tourism promotes preservation and conservation of natural and cultural environments, as “its principles conform with the different policies in place mandating the protection and conservation” of such resources.

“CBT when properly managed will provide alternative source of income to the host community as an economic strategy,” she added.

The committee on ecotourism was created last month by virtue of Executive Order No. CL-382-2010 with Mayor Celso Lobregat as chair.

It members are from the City Council; department heads of the local government; DOT; Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); Philippine Information Agency (PIA); local journalists; Zamboanga Adventure Tourism and Eco-Recreation Society (ZATERS) and the chairs of this city’s 98 barangays.

Meanwhile, members of ZATERS will go on a mountain trek on Saturday to the waterfalls in Barangay Dulian-Upper Bunguiao as part of the group’s efforts to promote adventure tourism in this city.

The visit to the Dulian waterfalls will include tree planting and river cleanup. (MindaNews)