Monday, November 01, 2010

ASEAN subgroup to promote subterranean river

The Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) is promoting Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan and the Komodo National Park in Indonesia as prime eco-tourism destinations.

The group, in a statement issued on June 9, said this indicates strong partnership within the subgroup of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to strengthen cooperation in tourism.

The statement of support for the two sites was an output of the BIMP-EAGA tourism industry meeting in the Palawan provincial capital Puerto Princesa City on June 9 to 10.

The conference sought to market the sub-region as a single tourism destination, starting with the two eco-tourism sites.

A similar meeting took place three years ago in Koronadal City, South Cotabato that saw the crafting of a mechanism to promote the subgroup as a single tourist destination.

Mary Ann M. Montemayor, then chairman of the BIMP-EAGA tourism council, said part of the agreement then was for the four countries to apply the fifth freedom traffic right that allows an airline to pick up passengers within the sub-region other than the destination it was granted to service.

The scheme, however, was bogged down by air linkages as some airline companies destinations are not viable as visitor destinations.

Despite the limitations, Narzalina Z. Lim, Asian Development Bank consultant on eco-tourism, said the ASEAN subgroup has unique characteristics that, if fully tapped, could become a major eco-tourism destination.

Ms. Lim, who served as secretary of Tourism during the presidency of Corazon C. Aquino, said BIMP-EAGA has indigenous communities who can be tapped as tourist attractions with enough infrastructure support, particularly on providing easy access to the destinations.

No comments: