Keeping El Nido interesting to the growing number of foreign and domestic tourists has now become a real challenge to municipal government officials, particularly since several favorite island destinations in the picturesque Bacuit Bay are already suffering from ruin.
Municipal Tourism Officer Arvin Acosta told PALAWAN NEWS that with the continuously increasing population of tourists who visit their town, vital coral sites in Bacuit Bay and its surrounding marine environment are also affected.
Constant engagement of Bacuit Bay by tourists, he stated, offers no rest to coral sites and island areas that are vulnerable. This is the reason why municipal government officials are now in a hurry to file the ordinance that proposes to close some of them for much-required rehabilitation.
The regulation, he explained, will be closely networked to El Nido’s Comprehensive Land and Water Use Plan (CLWUP), which focuses on the control and management of human incursion in important marine areas.
Among the sites being proposed for four to six years temporary closure is Shimizu Island, a popular snorkeling spot because of its corals. Acosta added four other coral sites and island destinations are included in the proposed list. He did not name them.
The municipal tourism officer assured that closing Shimizu Island and the other sites will not affect the tourism industry in El Nido because it has other exciting island getaways to offer to visitors.
In fact, Acosta disclosed that 12 new tour spots are set to be opened next year as alternative to those that will be temporarily closed. Some of these are Abdens Rock, Popolkan Island, Inambogol Island, and East Pangulasian that are perfect for snorkeling activities.
This year, 60% of El Nido’s visitors were American, French, Chinese and German nationals, while 40% were Filipinos. In 2014, tourism arrival in the cliffy town hit 80,000. (with reports from Archie Barone)