TRANSFORMING PROTECTED AREAS INTO EFFECTIVE AND SUSTAINABLE ECOTOURISM DESTINATIONS: LESSONS FROM THE GROUND
Benjamin C. Bagadion, Ph.D. (BBagadion@aim.edu)
Nerissa D. Del Fierro-Juan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A common problem faced by park area managers is the perennial funding crunch, which results in ineffective enforcement of conservation laws and measures. Transforming these protected areas into ecotourism sites is an excellent avenue not only for sustainable community development, but more importantly, as an economic development strategy.
This paper is an outcome of the Action Research Project of the Center for Development Management (CDM) of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) on Protected Area Management. Some National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) sites showed success in surmounting this funding obstacle by developing the ecotourism potential of their respective locations. This paper draws lessons from the experiences of some selected protected areas including but not limited to the following: The Rajah Sikatuna Park, the Olango Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary, the Pueryo Prinsesa Subterranean River, the Tubbataha National Park, the Apo Island Seascape and Landscape, etc. It discusses practical considerations on how to utilize ecotourism in promoting appreciation of and support for nature conservation and local culture, while generating economic opportunities for the community.
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