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The Palawan Young Sustainable Environment (PYSEA) is set to conduct a sustainable tourism-related activity aiming to empower Palaw’an natives who manage the Sabsaban Falls in Brooke’s Point this Sunday, December 8.
With support from the municipal government, the youth group will hold a capacity building activity, entitled Be Frontliners Improving Tourism (Be FIT) Brooke’s Point, which aims to increase the knowledge of Palaw’an natives on sustainable tourism principles and practices. The group is also partnering with the Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape Protected Area Office.
“We believe no other people can better manage this tourism destination than the Palaw’an natives themselves because they have been embedded since time immemorial in this place which is covered by their ancestral domain,” said Be FIT project coordinator Keith Anthony Fabro.
“They have already the traditional knowledge on tourism destination management, so our goal is to enrich that through giving them lectures and workshops on sustainable tourism, forest conservation, and waste management,” Fabro added.
PYSEA’s Be FIT project believes that destinations should veer away from the traditional tourism path because it has been proven to be destructive to the environment and communities.
“In sustainable tourism, both the people and the planet win. It’s the way to go because it gives a steady stream of income especially to marginalized indigenous communities, all while ensuring that their rich culture is preserved and their irreplaceable biodiversity is protected,” Fabro said.
Prior to opening up the attraction to tourists, Be FIT said it is better to prepare first the host community by giving them the proper training to effectively handle the pressures from the growing tourism industry.
“Before you promote a tourist attraction, you have to ensure that the community that hosts it is prepared to accommodate tourists. Locals should put in place measures to minimize the negative impacts of visitation increase both to the people and the planet,” Fabro said.
“If social preparation comes last, you will risk the integrity of the environment, as well as the community’s culture that makes them unique. So without those things, how can a tourist destination attract tourists?” he added.
Be FIT Brooke’s Point is organized as part of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative’s (YSEALI) Younified, wherein its members from the Southeast Asian countries give back to their communities through volunteer works to celebrate YSEALI’s anniversary during the 1st week of December.
Previously, Be FIT events were also organized in El Nido (December 2017) and Siargao (March 2018), focusing on sustainable marine tourism and eco-friendly tour guiding with the support of the US Embassy in the Philippines through its YSEALI program.
Aside from Be FIT, PYSEA also implements the Scubasurero Project with the initial support from the Palawan Pawnshop’s corporate social responsibility program.