What Is ECOTOURISM?

Ecotourism as the foundation of Siquijor Island.

Ecotourism is the responsible travel to places of undisturbed natural areas. It creates programs, laws, policies and systems that upholds three components or attributes of a destination: a.) environmental, b.) socio-cultural, and c.) socio-economical. Therefore, it promotes conservation, leaving little negative visitor impact like pollution and exploitation, and in the end benefits the local communities and the environment.

Its goal is to directly provide financial benefits in conserving the natural resources and empowering the lives of local communities. It encourages tourists to practice sustainable traveling to help maintain the state of ecotourism in a destination.

Conserves environment

Ecotourism prioritizes the state of natural areas in its tourist activities. Because of heightened tourist rates in the past decade, local government units are prompted to implement programs and policies that will conserve the beauty of the Island's destinations while still entertaining its tourists.

Empowers culture

Culture is one of the most attracting factors for tourists. As Siquijor is known for its mystic culture of folk healing, this invites curious tourists onto the Island. Festivals and special practices both encourages locals to embrace their unique identity while sharing its ethnic roots to visitors.

Improves livelihood

Heightened tourist influx creates a domino effects of job and learning opportunities for the Island's locals. As more tourists calls for quality service, facilities and an overall enjoyable tourist experience, this introduces more job openings to the locals, and improves their quality of life as a result.

Sustainable Traveling in Siquijor Island

Sustainable travelling has three priorities; conserving the natural destinations, economically supporting local businesses, and respecting and supporting cultural life. Sustainable travelers make it a point to consider the impact of their choices when visiting destinations. They will choose actions that benefit all three componenets or attributes. While ecotourism refers to the tourist activities intended to directly benefit and conserve its natural areas, sustainable travelling focuses on the behavior of the tourist within the destination.

Conserve natural areas by using eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastics to disposing of waste properly.

Sustainable traveling discourages the consumption and disposal of non-biodegradable materials. Bringing eco-friendly alternatives, like wooden or metal straws and utensils, tumblers, tote bags, etc., will eliminate the disposal of non-bios, creating less waste.

Support locals by buying their products or giving donations.

Most tour guides in Siquijor are volunteers, and therefore do not receive salary from the LGUs, so by tipping them after a tour will greatly help them. There also souvenir-photo spots in Siquijor, wherein you can also donate money to.

Respect the culture by acting accordingly and dressing appropriately in places of cultural heritage.

Respect the conservative lifestyle of its locals by dressing appropriately in holy places (churches), while also maintaining the same decency by wearing swimwear only in beach areas and not in the towns of the Island.

Master Tourism Development Plan

The Master Tourism Development Plan or MTDP is an upcoming series of policies and guidelines established by the local government for better tourism. With ecotourism as its foundation, it aims to enhance the tourist experience while still preserving the natural resources and sites of Siquijor.

Below are the main components of the official MTDP anticipated within the decade.

Maximum Carrying Capacity

“Carrying capacity” refers to how much people can occupy a specific place or spot. Due to delicate qualities of a natural destination such as the locals animals and plants that occupy its space, limits are established in order to avoid issues of trampling effects, noise pollution, disturbed wildlife, etc.
Observing the rules of a maximum carrying capacity allows local authorities to easily monitor and control any environmental threats.

Dress Code implementation​

Intended to protect the culture and traditional values of the locals, the local government looks to prohibiting tourists from wearing revealing, or beach-intended outfits, like bikinis and shorts, in non-beach areas, such as its towns, restaurants, main roads, etc. Likewise, tourists will also be prohibited to be naked in public beach areas. This section concerning public indecency aims to respect the traditional religious background of Siquijorians.​

Regulation of tourism workers by DOT ​

As the local government takes pride in their service sector, more specifically with habal-habal or tricycle drivers due to the tourism trainings they have experienced, the local Department of Tourism plans to make all tourism service workers, from hotel employees to tourist site workers, undergo another process of seminars and trainings in order to be officially regulated by the DOT.​

Upland and coastal clean ups​

The MTDP aims to also regulate clean ups as a part of modern Siquijorian culture, wherein locals of a certain barangay, or students, or volunteers go to a specific area (that’s usually well-known and experiences the most litter activity), to pick up trash and segregate them after. These clean-ups will be based in beach and forests or hill areas. ​

Uniform waste disposal policies​

The establishment of sanitary landfills in all of the five towns of Siquijor will introduce a line of new rules and policies to be followed by locals and tourists alike. From the implementation of penalty fees on littering, to the establishment of disposal bins for tourists to segregate their trash and to put into, this section of the MTDP aims to maintain, if not improve, the beautiful, natural state of the Island.​

“Reef-to-Ridge” Development Plan​

Designed to improve and rehabilitate natural areas of the Island and improve its ecotourist qualities, the infrastructure development plan will tackle areas needed of rehabilitation or infrastructure improvement starting from the coastal area (reef), to the interior part of the island like its resorts, beaches, in-land facilities, ending to mountainous or upland area (ridge) of the Island.​

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