Sustainable Tourism: The Reason behind Major Changes in El Nido Island Hopping Tours
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El Nido, Palawan, Philippines — A list has just been posted regarding the changes of the four island-hopping tours to promote sustainable tourism. There have been two dry runs this November which were organized by Tourism officials in El Nido. The Protected Area Office as placed both Small Lagoon and Big Lagoon as premium stops on Tour A. There is a limited number of people who can go there at a time. Secret Beach for Tour C is also expected to be a premium stop. The pre-registration for the Premium Stops is already being practiced.
Here are the new set El Nido tours that will be imposed.
- Tour A: Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island, Small Lagoon and 7 Commando Beach
- Tour B: Cathedral Cave, Entalula Island, Popolkan Island (the island to visit in replacement of the now private island Pangulasian) and Snake Island
- Tour C: Helicopter Beach, Hidden Beach, Matinloc Shrine, Secret Beach and Tapiutan Island
- Tour D: Bukal Island, Cadlao Lagoon, Nat Nat Beach, Paradise Beach, and Pasandingan Cove
And here are the big changes that will happen or have already been imposed.
Touring Small and Big Lagoon on the Same Day is prohibited
Visitors are only allowed one Premium Stop per day so you must tour Small Lagoon and Big Lagoon on separate days. Visitors are given two choices which are A- Premium Tour A with Small Lagoon and B- Premium Tour A with Big Lagoon. The downside of this is that you’ll need to do the tour twice if you want to visit both lagoons.
Combinations are Not Allowed
It used to be that tourists are allowed to do combination tours wherein stops from two tours can be combined depending on the choice of the visitor. This resulted to mostly combinations of Tours A and C which means going to Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, and Secret Beach in one day. Now the Tourism authorities are implementing rules on the numbers of visitors that’s why they separated the Premium Stops.
There will Be Pre-Registration to Visit Big Lagoon and Small Lagoon
There’s a need now to pre-register if you want to visit these two Premium Stops. The tour operator will pre-register your name with the Protected Area Office for Tour A and there’s a possibility that pre-registration will also be a prerequisite for Tour C (where Premium Stop Secret Beach is located). The procedure includes giving your name, age and country of residence to the tour operator. The tour operator will then enlist you with the proper authorities.
Extra Fee for Pre-registration of Premium Stop
A Php200 fee per person will be charged for pre-registering to go to a Premium Stop. The money will be used for the maintenance of the lagoons and its protected area. This is an additional fee to the existing Php200 EDTF (Eco-Tourism Development Fee) charge.
Time Slots for Premium Stops
The time slots for the Premium Stops start at 7:00 am and ends at 4:00 pm. Each group is allowed an hour to spend at Big Lagoon and an hour-and-a-half for Small Lagoon. The 7:00 am slot means you’ll have to be at the Lagoon by 7:00 am and this goes for the other time slots.
You Need to Kayak Your Way to the Insides of Small and Big Lagoon
The Big and Small Lagoon have fragile ecosystems and the Tourism authorities require that the island-hopping boats are not allowed anymore to go inside the lagoons. What you can do is rent a kayak from a verified vendor for the amount of Php300. You can use the kayak to reach the insides of the lagoons.
Tour Price Increase
This has not yet been executed yet although the tour prices are still the same amount it has been for years.
Tourism authorities in Palawan are working together to accommodate visitors while practicing sustainable tourism. They want to let visitors enjoy El Nido but at the same time protect it from abuse which leads to future environmental problems.