By Chino S. Leyco
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will invest in an environment sustainability project for two fast-growing destinations in Palawan known for their pristine natural beauty and diverse marine life.
In a statement, the Manila-based lender said yesterday that the ADB is preparing a tourism development project to ensure an environmentally sustainable environment for El Nido and Coron in Palawan.
ADB said the bank is working with the Department of Tourism (DOT) for the development project, which involves investment in environmentally sustainable urban facilities and marine environment protection.
According to the ADB, the investment is needed ahead of the expected higher numbers of tourists visiting the islands over the next decade.
“Palawan is known as the country’s ‘last ecological frontier’ and we want to ensure its rich marine ecosystem, particularly in El Nido and Coron, will be protected amid the rapid growth in tourist demand,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.
The project is part of DOT’s Transforming Communities Towards Resilient, Inclusive, and Sustainable Tourism (TouRIST) Program, a coordinated effort by various government agencies and local stakeholders in partnership with multilateral development banks in implementing sustainable tourism development in the country.
ADB will be supporting the DOT-led program by offering solutions and financing to address the immediate need for vital urban infrastructure and services, such as solid waste management, drainage and sanitation, and clean drinking water in El Nido and Coron.
ADB will also help build the capacity of local stakeholders to protect and conserve healthy oceans and rehabilitate key biodiversity-based tourism sites. The project is planned for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2020.
To ensure tourism benefits local communities, ADB will also explore innovative funding to local business enterprises and community-based groups for skills and product development to improve the quality of services in El Nido and Coron.