Good news and bad news for local tourism
posted 19-Dec-2018  ·  
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There was good news and bad news in the local tourism industry last week.

Overshadowing all others was the reopening of the popular Binurong Point last Dec. 5, 2018, with no less than the 60 tour guides, barangay council and residents of Guinsaanan, as well as Baras Mayor Chito Chi himself welcoming Col. Jose Sorreta and son Vicente with a parade and brief celebration.

The reopening of the attraction augurs well for the tourist guides, who will earn extra income this December and the coming months, as well as the entire island which stands to benefit from the tourist arrivals.

And all the people of Baras has to do, as Vicente “Teng” Sorreta stressed in his message, is to maintain the cleanliness and pristine environment of Binurong like it was 10 years ago when it was unseen by the public.

It is a responsibility that every Catandunganon must do, if the island is to continue being proud of the tag “the last frontier of Bicol” and the “island paradise” in this corner of the country.

Thus, local tourism bodies, particularly at the capitol, should seriously consider the strict monitoring of sites frequented by the tourists to see to it that the municipal government and barangay councils who are the primary beneficiary of the tourism activity do their part in maintaining the tourist destinations within their respective jurisdictions.

It may have to emulate what the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has done with Boracay and El Nido: determine the carrying capacity of these destinations and establish zones where commercial activity can only be allowed.

Surely, they do not want to see cottages or sari-sari stores dotting the picturesque landscape at Binurong or Cagnipa Hills in Pandan, or hordes of tourists descending on them every day, stressing the natural environment.

For LGUs who are requiring the payment of environmental fee from tourists, it has to make any base camp compliant with Department of Tourism guidelines, from the provision of sanitary toilets and resting places to a briefing on the site and what is prohibited during the sightseeing.

Most importantly, it has to keep the visitors safe and sound during their brief stay on the island, a need that was ably demonstrated during last week’s incident in Pandan that endangered the lives of 29 tourists from Metro Manila and nearby areas.

According to the report which reached the Tribune only last Monday, the motorized banca which the 29 tourists boarded on their way to Tuwad-Tuwadan Lagoon capsized off Mambang beach due to strong waves.

It is common knowledge to the people of this storm-tossed island that sea travel is not for the faint-hearted as soon as the “ber” months come in. In the last two months along, no less than three sea mishaps have been recorded, of which one fatality has been reported.

The Philippine Coast Guard, as well as the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), should work hand in hand with the local disaster and tourism officials in issuing advisories on the state of the sea around the island.

Such advisories, which should be heeded, would serve as a guide by the local government units in allowing frail sea vessels, particularly those carrying tourists, to travel to destinations reachable only by sea.

Local governments and their respective tourism officials should not be so greedy at the sight of the growing tourist arrivals and instead implement measures to ensure that they enjoy their stay on the island and leave with their lives and belongings intact, bringing with them good memories of this paradise on earth.

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