Rethink tourism plan
The tourism plan drafted by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry is seriously flawed. PCCI director Samie Lim does not know what he is talking about.
First, Lim spoke of their thrust to promote 20 other destinations that would rival Boracay’s charm and showcase the country’s myriad attractions. This is wrong.
The number of tourist destinations should be limited to less than 10 so there can be a focus in terms of resources for public infrastructure support, marketing and promotions. This is what Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam did, and they were very successful. Now, even Cambodia! It is only later on that you add more destinations, after the success of the initial destinations.
While the need for infrastructure support like airports, seaports and roads is a sine qua non for tourism development, Lim is wrong to say that the lack of these led to the degradation of Boracay’s natural beauty and resources. What caused the rape of Boracay is the corruption of local government officials.
This corruption began in 1992 with the devolution of functions from the national to local government units following the passage of the Local Government Code of 1991.
I agree with the editorial, “Other Boracays” (5/17/18), that “more than just infrastructure, the PCCI should consider how the expected influx of tourists and entrepreneurs catering to the guests’ needs would impact on a site’s carrying capacity, its water and food supply, and marine resources.”
Last April, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu instructed the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau to determine the carrying capacity of Boracay. My position is to put a limit of one million tourists, or half the figure of two million last year. This can be done by developing the Caticlan area in the mainland, as well as nearby Nabas and the other towns in Antique. Then also promote other destinations such as El Nido and Coron in Palawan, Panglao in Bohol, Siargao in Surigao del Norte and Bantayan in Cebu.
RICARDO B. RAMOS, former chair, Task Force Boracay
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