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UNDP supports Guisi heritage tourism project

May 7, 2008

By Maricar M. Calubiran
The News Today, Apr. 24, 2008

THE United Nations Development Programme has released P995,000 for the procurement of mountain bikes, snorkeling materials and masks for the Guisi Discovery Quest, according to UNDP Resident Representative Kyo Naka. The Guisi Discover Quest is an eco-tourism initiative designed to help communities hit by the oil spill in Guimaras Island, Iloilo.

UNDP’s involvement in the Guisi Community Based Tourism initiative was primarily in response to the oil spill disaster that hit the island-province in 2006.

Guisi Discovery Quest is managed by the Barangay Dolores Tourism Council (BDTC) in Nueva Valencia, Guimaras. Aside from UNDP, the Department of Tourism and Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) also helped in the tourism project. Naka, along with Department of Tourism Secretary Joseph Durano, was in Guimaras last week for the Guisi Discovery Quest launching.

Naka said the UNDP’s intervention in the tourism initiative in Guimaras was an offshoot of their emergency meeting. The UNDP is supportive to projects with emphasis on the protection of environment and tourism friendly initiatives.

Naka said like other donor agencies that entered the island because of oil spill, the UNDP is also supportive in all human development. The Guisi Discovery Quest, which is a community-based tourism project could help the residents.

Naka added that the catastrophe has been turned into opportunity with the entry of all donor agencies in the island. If the project is done and implemented properly, it could be a model for the entire country. It will lead new areas in tourism industry.

The initiative which begins with the hospitality of the residents will draw number of tourists to the island. It will generate income for the residents.

The UNDP also wants environmental management laws in South East Asia and the International Maritime Organization to prevent similar oil spill accidents, said Naka.

The Guisi Discovery Quest, a tour package, includes a visit in the 18th Century old Guisi Lighthouse, Guisi beaches, Panluron Falls, wilderness trail, island hopping, boating, snorkeling, fishing, visit in marine sanctuaries, Hinalaran Cove and Guisi Coral Reef.

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