The City Tourism Office (CTO) is concentrating efforts on developing some 24 community-based sustainable tourism (CBST) organizations to spur tourism activity in the city.
CTO chief Aileen Cynthia Amurao told Palawan News on Friday that they have been training the CBST organizations operating in 18 CBST sites since June. She said it will last until September.
“This is really to upgrade and strengthen our CBSTs. We are teaching them about starting an enterprise and organizational development. Of course, with the influx of tourists, we need to capacitate them to handle these tourists very well,” she said.
Amurao said the national government, meanwhile, approved their budget request of P6 million to fund the livelihood projects that will help these CBST organizations get by during the tourism offseason.
“This is actually to enhance their existing livelihood. With or without tourists, they can survive,” she added.
Amurao cited, for instance, the request of a CBST group in Barangay Maoyon to fund its crab fattening livelihood. On one hand, other groups ask to fund their request for additional tourist boats, while some propose the establishment of cottages and souvenir shops in their sites.
Once they are knowledgeable enough in enterprise and organizational development, she said they will start releasing the fund to these CBSTs.
Amurao said her office is also awaiting the approval of their proposed ordinance that rationalizes the need to hire at least one community organizer for each CBST and other tourism sites in the City.
She added that they also lobbied for the passage of another ordinance seeking for the establishment of tourism coordinators for each barangay. This coordinator, she said, is entitled to a stipend and could be the barangay councilor chairing the tourism committee.
“We need these coordinators who are immersed in the barangays because we know that it’s hard for our CBST organizations to operate on their own and without the support of the barangay,” she added.
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