Juan Effect Siargao: Cebu Pacific, Siargao Stakeholders Join Forces For Sustainable Tourism
Siargao Island, Philippines — The ability to travel has opened up a new world of cultural and leisure opportunities for everyone. With the availability of various transportation methods, traveling now is much cheaper compare to the previous decades. Smaller rural communities that previously do not have a diverse economy now have more employment and other business opportunities. Thanks to the booming tourism and with the help of social media, finding new places to visit has never been this easier.
Unfortunately, with new infrastructures like new hotels, new roads, and new restaurants, there are some negative impacts on the local ecosystem. Leisure activities that tourist enjoy also affect the environment. Coral reefs are damaged by some irresponsible scuba divers or boatmen. Hiking, climbing, and swimming can also have a negative impact on the natural world (ecosystem) of these small communities.
There is, however, sustainable tourism programs that can encourage tourism and growth while protecting the environment. Cebu Pacific has partnered with the DOT (Department of Tourism) to create a program to sustain the ecosystem while promoting tourism. This program is being piloted in Siargao Island. “Juan Effect” is trying to lessen the environmental damage by mass tourism.
Cebu Pacific invited writers from Manila, Cebu, and Davao to the launch of this pilot program. The community stakeholders were also invited to the event along with Siargao officials. The officials of the Department of Tourism and the Department Of Environmental and Natural Resources were also in attendance.
“Juan Effect” helps to raise awareness among Filipinos, helping them to be environmentally friendly when traveling. This program encourages people to change one daily habit at a time.
This program also targets stakeholders, such as small business owners, to help them understand that they can operate their businesses with less of an impact on the environment.
Known as a world-class surfing area, the flights in and out of Siargao Island have been increasing over the past decade. Cebu Pacific was the first airline to go and help Siargao Island grow their economy by becoming a tourist destination.
“Since we launched ‘Juan Effect’ in August 2018, we have been working with the local government units in Siargao and the province of Surigao Del Norte to spur concerted action to properly manage the ever-increasing visitor numbers, ease the negative impact of tourism on the island, and balance the social and environmental concerns with its economic benefits,” explained Candice Iyog, the Vice President for Marketing and Distribution of Cebu Pacific.
Cebu Pacific has one flight a day from Manila to Surigao and four flights a day between Cebu and Siargao. Cebu Pacific is doing their part to help the environment in many ways such as:
- Using the ATR 72-600 aircraft as it has low fuel consumption and the lowest environmental footprint for this type of aircraft.
- All disposable plastics used for things like in-flight meals have been replaced with alternatives that are sustainable.
The “Juan Effect” has spurred some areas to pass ordinances about waste and plastic. Signs made from old surfboards helped to advertise the “Juan Effect” campaign. These campaign materials aim to educate everyone in the area, both locals and tourists alike, about responsible traveling.
The airline also designed receptacles that tourists can use to dispose of their plastic bottles. These bottles are either turned into Eco bricks or recycled. The receptacles have been left at busy points in the area and other tourist attractions. The containers can hold up even through strong winds and waves. These receptacles will encourage everyone on the island to dispose of their waste in a safer manner for the environment.
Every Juan is inspired to do their part by showcasing a colorful mural painted by Anini Rubio. The mural is located at Dapa Elementary School for everyone to see as they pass. Engagement activities led by Erwan Heussaff, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, and Kyle “Kulas” Jennerman will help to bring education and awareness about the environment as part of the “Juan Effect” campaign.
You can pledge to help Cebu Pacific help keep the Philippine islands clean and beautiful by visiting the official website at www.juaneffect.com.