Ecotourism can provide sustainable livelihood to Filipinos
MANILA, Philippines – Sustainable livelihood for Filipinos is possible if the country taps its potential to develop marine tourism and boating and marine-based real estate industries.
Marine and coastal ecotourism in the Philippines, as part of a larger tourism campaign of the government, will offer both local and foreign visitors a glimpse of the country's natural beauty while keeping it preserved, said Michael Raeuber, president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, on Sunday, February 22.
"We should look for every opportunity for greater growth and competitive strength serving the globalized world. We must seek creative ways to showcase the country and prove that it is indeed worth visiting and investing in," Raeuber said in his speech at the SEA-EX 2015: Philippine Boat Show & Premier Nautical Lifestyle Expo and Conference.
The Philippines makes for a very colorful and scenic landscape with its beaches, surfing, as well as diving destinations. The country's coastline is the fourth longest in the world at 36,289 kilometers.
Coastal areas also offer plenty of opportunities for other developments like marina developments which can generate employment and create wealth and revenue for developers, builders, and the local population.
These will serve as leisure or recreational hotspots and support for the inter-island transportation system in place.
"It’s important for us to take the initiative to protect them and their environment," Raeuber said, and added that the livelihood of many Filipinos are linked to the seas.
Boat manufacturing industry
The growing boat manufacturing industry will also help spur marine tourism, as well as the fishing sector in the country.
Raeuber noted though that the boating sector is associated with glitter and glamor and that boat owners are the only ones enjoying luxurious trips on expensive boats.
“There is a perception that the demand is not enough due to its exclusive focus toward rich clients. This perception helps prevent the sector from taking off and making the Philippines a leader in marina development," Raeuber said.
But there are boats that can be manufactured for only P30,000 ($678.12), Raeuber said once the infrastructure is in place, the succession of enterprise building will take over and spur growth.
"The Philippine marine tourism and boat industries will need support and reforms especially from the government in order to achieve their goals,” he stressed.
Thus, collaboration is key to create the right administrative environment for investments and development of the industry.
Simplifying the procedures for an easy and simple listing and registering sailboats with the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) is also one of the industry's wish list, as many, if not most boats are now foreign flagged or only registered with the coast guard. – Rappler.com
Boat in the Philippines image from Shutterstock
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