El Nido’s tourist boom in the eyes of locals

MANILA, Philippines, March 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — In 2017, readers of luxury and lifestyle travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler ranked Palawan’s El Nido as the world’s fourth most beautiful island beach. While El Nido is home to nearly 50 white sand beaches set around majestic limestone formations, it used to be a fifth-class municipality without a hospital and sufficient power and water systems.

Most of the locals used to make a living through birds’ nest gathering, fishing, and cashew farming, which were not enough for them to make ends meet. In 1992, the opening of Ten Knots Development Corporation (TKDC) created opportunities to build on the skills and provide livelihood for El Nido’s communities. Now that El Nido is a first-class municipality and a booming tourist destination, most residents are part of the tourism supply chain that TKDC helped put in place.

TKDC implements an Inclusive Business model that taps partners, suppliers, and employees from local communities. It operates resorts in El Nido’s Miniloc, Lagen, Pangulasian Islands, and Apulit Island in Northeastern Palawan.

Nearly 90 percent of TKDC’s 341 employees come from local communities. To ensure that employees receive opportunities for promotion and that their skills remain relevant to the hospitality business, TKDC targets to provide 15,000 hours of training annually, a number they always exceed. TKDC also taps local fisherfolk and producers to be its suppliers. Employees and locals are trained on organic farming to help meet the resorts’ food and beverage requirements.

TKDC’s operations show that Inclusive Business models in the tourism sector are worth replicating because of their capacity to engage communities and protect the environment while staying profitable. To promote Inclusive Business in the tourism sector, the Philippines is granting five-year tax holidays to businesses that integrate micro, small, and medium enterprises in their value chain.

“We are encouraging the creation of inclusive business models in the tourism sector because of their capacity to generate employment in local communities. Aside from providing jobs, they can also engage the communities in ways such as promoting sustainability and engaging local suppliers,” said Philippine Trade Undersecretary and Board of Investments Managing head Ceferino Rodolfo.

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