THE PROBLEM AND ITS SCOPE
Ecotourism is a form of tourism involving visiting fragile, pristine and relatively undisturbed natural areas intended as a low-impact and often small-scale alternative to standard commercial tourism. Its purpose may be to educate the traveler, provide funds for ecological conservation, and directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities or to foster respect for different cultures and for human rights. According to the definition and principles of ecotourism established by The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) in 1990, ecotourism is “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” (TIES, 1990) Since the 1980s, ecotourism has been considered a critical endeavor by environmentalists, so that future generations may experience destinations relatively untouched by human intervention. Bohol has a rich ecotourism due to the vast lands that have remained untouched and unintruded by urbanization. Almost all barangays in rural and even in urban areas have something to offer as attraction to tourists that add to the income and the tourism industry of the province. Maribojoc, a 60 minute drive from the sandy beaches of the famed Panglao Island which has the most ecotourism resorts in Bohol, is a community that has a culturally rich heritage. It has sprawling bays, rich of bio-diverse marine life, jagged and ragged panoramic mountain ranges, rolling plains, water resources and high grade limestone. Forest products area is also abundant of raw materials for native handicrafts. The community has also their tourist attractions that generate income. Among them are Punta Cruz Tower, Santa Cruz Parish Church, Maribojoc Museum, SAVIMA Boardwalk, ALIMANGO Boardwalk, Old Stone Stairs, Padhan Cave, Abatan River Ecosystem, Boloc-Boloc Spring, and its vast Mountain Ranges. Maribojoc also has an agricultural area intended for planting crops, coconuts, rice and corn. 42.8 % of the total number of households is engaged in farming while approximately 500 households along the coastal and neighboring interior barangays are into fishing. Also a number of residents are engaged in cottage industry production such as basket, hat and mat weaving. One of the tourists’ attractions of Maribojoc is the Abatan River which offers boat rowing, kayaking, and other water sports activities. The river stretches from barangay to barangay to the open Maribojoc bay. One of the coastal barangays in Maribojoc is Barangay Cabawan which has a direct access to the river and could be reached either on land or through the river. It has an abundant resource of nipa plants, coconut trees, and fish sanctuaries which are sources of livelihood for the residents. In lieu of the above mentioned facts about the splendor and vast natural resources of the municipality, our group has designed an Ecotourism Park to be located in one of the barrios of Cabawan that would cater to the development of the tourism and industry of the municipality and promote livelihood for the locals. LITERATURE BACKGROUND
Ecotourism in general focuses on socially responsible travel, personal growth, and environmental sustainability. Ecotourism typically involves travel to destinations where flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions. Ecotourism is intended to offer tourists insight into the impact of human beings on the environment, and to foster a greater appreciation of our natural habitats. These also includes program for responsible ecotourism that involves minimizing the negative aspect of conventional tourism on the environment and enhancement of the cultural integrity of the people. An integral part of ecotourism is the promotion of recycling, energy efficiency, water conservation, and creation of economic opportunities for local communities. In 1991, the World Tourism Organization (WTO) and the...