Water as a livelihood
In 2013 the village of Bojo, Aloguinsan recrafted its tourism vision, with the aim that by the year 2020, Aloguinsan would have become a “progressive town showcasing sustainable and people-centered development with strong partnership between local government and the community; safe and enjoyable place for residents, visitors and investors.” Today, the village association has attained this vision, transforming both the quality of life of its residents and the quality of governance of the local administration.
Since river tourism began in 2009, the village association has already financially contributed to the local administration in order to implement projects in education, health and sanitation, environmental management, women empowerment and heritage preservation that benefitted 3,000 individuals (the village population only is 1,800) including children, women, the elderly, farmers, fishermen and other disadvantaged categories of the society. The village council has also received additional revenues from tourism that fund the improvement of the community’s basic social services including streetlighting, garbage collection and preservation of the village’s cultural traditions.
Tourism has been a primary player in creating new job opportunities through small businesses and employment of locals. People who used to work as construction workers and laborers in the city have come home. The new income has created a virtuous circle of local prosperity because the revenues from tourism are utilized to pay for the goods and services produced by the local community, therefore reducing profit leakage.
A goal addressed to the community is to commit to natural and cultural heritage preservation. This is clearly demonstrated in the regular river and coastal clean-ups as a result of awareness raising and capacity building. Mindful of the benefits of high-value low-impact tourism, the village has pooled its resources to implement marine conservation projects such as mangrove and wildlife protection, mangrove nursery management, environmental education for children and river interpretation training for local guides, in partnership with government agencies and the private sector.
Preventing the risks of massification
Bojo Village has had increasing positive results in tourist arrivals and revenues, though the local administration is getting aware of the risks of the high interest in the destination. Therefore, they are planning to reinforce cultural and creative tourism and fight product standardization and traditional events distortion.
Keeping up the pace with the future
As a rural village, one of the main issues the locals have to face is digitalisation. The local administration wants to focus on improving the locals’ digital skills to enhance business, marketing, productivity and safety measures with solutions like translation and guiding tools, virtual tools, contactless technologies or virtual tours.