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Boljoon launches community-based tourism

| by: Diane Higida

The Municipality of Boljoon, in partnership with Smart Communications and Innopub, launched a community-based cultural tourism project.

Aimed at maximizing their rich cultural heritage, this initiative will make local residents front-liners in Boljoon’s tourism industry.

The project, which started March this year, has already produced 42 “cultural interpreters” who will act as tour guides.

Boboi Costas of Grassroots Travel said that as cultural interpreters, they are trained not only to guide tourists but to explain to them the cultural value and history of their main tourist attractions.

Being a bona fide resident of Boljoon is the only qualification to participate in this project.
Currently, cultural interpreters of Boljoon include retired teachers, housewives and students.

Costas said that in line with this project, they will come up with a package tour by June this year to further boost their tourism industry.

During the Holy Week, the cultural interpreters earned P 10,000 in a one-day economic venture. They sold candles, torta, cookies, and other delicacies.

Ronald Villanueva, designated tourism officer of Boljoon, said that they welcomed the community based tourism project. He explained that Boljoon is blessed with rich cultural resources but admitted that they failed to capitalize on these in the past.

Provincial Tourism Officer Grace Paulino expressed her admiration to the residents of Boljoon, saying that Boljoon is a very good example to other towns. She also lauded the strong cooperation of the local government and the community.

Paulino said that the Provincial Tourism Office is gearing towards community–based tourism. She said that local tour guiding seminar and value chain workshops will be conducted this year.

The Municipality of Alonguinsan has also initiated community-based tourism, yet Boljoon is the first LGU to launch a community-based cultural tourism project.

One of the thrusts of Gov. Hilario Davide III’s administration is to give economic opportunities in the countryside. Davide believes that “a community-based tourism program wherein communities are trained to develop natural and cultural resources” will help address this development agenda.

“Urban tourism must spill over to the countryside,” he said.