As awareness and experience of the activity has grown, so has our need for a more comprehensive and detailed definition. Most recently (1999), Martha Honey has proposed an excellent, more detailed version: Ecotourism is travel to fragile, pristine and usually protected areas that strives to be low impact and (usually) small scale. It helps educate the traveller; provides funds for conservation; directly benefits the economic development and political empowerment of local communities; and fosters respect for different cultures and for human rights.
However, consensus exists among organizations involved with ecotourism (including The Nature Conservancy) around the definition adopted in 1996 by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) which describes ecotourism as: Environmentally responsible travel and visitation to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and any accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples.
Based on statistics of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), tourism has become one of the world’s largest industries. As early as 1993, it was accounting for about 6% of the world’s gross national product. In 1998, the tourist receipts in the Philippines amounted to US$246. 76 million. The country’s Senate Commission on tourism has predicted that the tourism industry will generate one of every ten new jobs that will be created in the country by the year 2004 and it is estimated that tourism will contribute 6% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Tourism is becoming a fast growing industry in Bohol, the tenth largest island in the Philippines, right in the heart of Central Visayas. Bohol has a rich wellspring of ecology, history, culture and natural heritage sites that have earned worldwide interest. “We Boholanos envision Bohol to be the prime eco-cultural destination and a strong agro-industrial province in the country”, Relampagos said. The existing tourism activities on the island and established tourism facilities go to show that Bohol is gaining prestige as a tourist destination in the region.
ECO-tourism’s “unique” “must-see” sites or attractions are not created equally since many are called but only few are chosen if the popular passage is any gauge. But, for Bohol, eco-tourism is one of the primary development strategies. “The province of Bohol is one of the country’s top ranked, not just tourism, but eco-tourism destinations based on the social media survey”, said U. S national Greg Ringer, Ph. D. Its competitive advantage is the presence of the famous Chocolate Hills, its famous Tarsier conservation, scuba and jungles, white pristine beaches in its islands, diving sites, and world-class cultural attractions.
The island of Bohol has been truly a piece of paradise on earth. Nonetheless, this piece of paradise is also subject and is being challenged by progress – a change that could mean harm to the place’s natural beauty and a movement that could give its locals a higher notch of lifestyle. In order to set balance to these possibilities, Eco – Tourism should be should be the Bohol’s top priority. To understand how the concept of Eco – tourism would work at Bohol, having knowledge of its people, culture and island’s economic stance should be taken into consideration The Boholanos
Boholanos or the natives of this island had been known for its resiliency since the first settlement. Accounts from oral traditions to written history, Boholanos are assertive in terms of protecting their own paradise – they will stand up for their rights to the point of even giving up their own lives. The natives of Bohol, are certainly peace-loving individuals as they welcome visitors and tourists alike taking pride of the ‘Sandugo’ (Blood Compact) that took place in this island as they accepted their first ‘tourists’.
The Culture The mixture of influences throughout the history shaped the Boholanos culture. Prestige of the old Christian churches and the spread of the Catholic faith, signify the Spanish era’s legacy. The old churches, on all major towns of the island of Bohol are dedicated to saints and during their patron’s feast day, the locals celebrate it with food, drinks and wonderful parade of colourful presentations. Business in Bohol The island’s position serves as one of its business advantages.
Located in the central part of the Philippines, accessibility on all major metropolises is never a problem. All major air and sea ports are also available for investors and all business related gathering in the island. Man power is another asset of this island in terms of investment. Boholanos hospitality, self-reliability and dedication are their unique traits. The native can also speak English-universal language for business transaction. Lower rate of labour cost is another thing to consider in doing business at Bohol.
The world’s largest repositories of biological diversity can be found in mountains, yet mountain areas are now very popular destinations for recreation and associated tourism. Bohol is a top biodiversity area. It is the home to the tarsier, the world’s smallest monkey, and to Chocolate Hills, an enigmatic geological formation. Wetlands, caves and forests dot its terrain. The municipality of Corella is located in the interior part in the island province of Bohol. It is the first town northeast of the City of Tagbilaran with a distance of ten (10) kilometres.
The town is conveniently accessible by six major routes: from the west by the Tagbilaran-Corella national highway, from the southwest by the Baclayon-Corella provincial road, from the southeast by the Albur-Corella provincial road, from the east by the Loboc-Sikatuna-Corella national highway, from the northeast by the balilihan-Corella provincial road and from the northwest by the Cortes-Corella provincial road. These major roads directly connect to the major tourist destinations in the province. There are three major tourism sites in the town of Corella.
One is the Tarsier Foundation in the Barangay Canapnapan, where the tarsier sanctuary is located within the forestland approximately 134 hectares wide. It has been a visitor’s complex for the guests with a localtour guide who will orient the unique characteristics of the specie. The second is the Candawis Environmental Garden, which is approximately 6. 744 hectares where abundant trees and tarsiers are found in the area. Here in this site are the existing sources of water that supplied the municipality over a period of fifty years.
The Soil and Water Foundation (SWCF) in interested to develop the site and the feasibility study has already been conducted for the purpose of conserving the area. The third one is the proposed Balisawa Hill that is 2. 6 hectares located in the barangay Tanday. Forests and tarsiers are abundant in this place. The hill on top is an overlooking to the City of Tagbilaran. The area is very suitable for eco-tourism development. For this reason, the researchers have decided to conduct a study and proposed design plans suited for the development of the Balisawa Hill as an eco-tourism adventure park.
Eco-tourism could be a paradigm shift in how things see and do business. Bohol, in the town of Corella in particular, and its natural wonders is a special training ground in which others may try to realize that wealth is more than money that is earned but rather, wealth is a priceless asset that should be preserved and shared with others-like the beauty of Mother Nature that can be experienced only in Bohol. Ecotourism is another part of economic progress for Bohol. Eco-tourism’s drive to presver and share the beauty of nature than to exploit and rape natural resources and only the few could enjoy to the point of exhausting it.