Officials in charge of tourism in Culion have set as one of their goals the transformation of their town into an eco-historical tourist destination within the Calamianes archipelago.

Culion municipal tourism officer Jubelle Cabatingan said eco-cultural or eco-historical tourism is a new form of travel that combines the safeguarding of natural and cultural sites with economic and leisure benefits through sustainable development, and also improves the conditions of the communities that are the recipients of this type of tourism.

But to be able to achieve this, Culion has to establish its tourism code.

“Our mayor (Maria Virginia de Vera) strictly instructed that the town must be prepared in case of an influx of tourists, in case of an increase in investors, infra projects, the policies for this must be applied, what is forbidden and what is not,” he explained.

Stakeholders and others who attended the Municipal Tourism Office (MTO) tourism code workshop on November 16. |Photo from Culion Tourism Office

He said Culion is expecting to complete its tourism code before the end of the year following a workshop it held this month for the purpose.

Various tourism stakeholders, tourism site owners, and government agencies came to the workshop to talk about different ideas and suggestions that can be included and must included into the tourism code, he said.

Cabatingan added that it is important to put the tourism code in place to have rules or policies that tourists, investors, government workers, officials, and a lot of other people must follow. Included in the code is the sustainable principle that tourism activities won’t hurt their town’s natural resources, culture, or history.

Beginning in 1906 and operating until the American commonwealth of the Philippines era, Culion was a leprosarium. Even though leprosy was eradicated from the island town in the 1980s, it wasn’t until 2006 that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it to be leprosy-free.

“This is one of the most important so that we can implement the tourism development plan and at the same time we can achieve sustainable tourism,” he said.

Following the tourism code workshop, their Technical Working Group immediately finalized it on November 17-18. It will be presented to the Municipal Tourism Council (MTC) as well as passed to the Sangguniang Bayan for approval.

“Hopefully, everything will be finished from the tourism council to the public hearing and final reading of the code,” he added.

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is the news correspondent for Sofronio Española and Narra, Palawan. He also covers some agriculture stories. His interests are with food and technology.