News feature: Ilonggo students want more info on eco-tourism, survey says

News feature: Ilonggo students want more info on eco-tourism, survey says

By Elsa S. Subong, Monday 10th of September 2012

ILOILO CITY, Sept 10 (PIA) -- It is not the lack of interest but lack of awareness and information on eco-tourism sites that prevent young people from engaging in eco-tourism trips in their communities.

Some 400 students from the public and private schools participated in a survey on ďAssessing Eco-Tourism Potential: A domestic Market Profile of Students in Iloilo City, conducted by the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI).

The survey showed that about 90 percent of the students said they were willing to learn more about eco-tourism, as they considered eco-tourism to be significantly important for the future of Iloilo City, CUI-Iloilo Project Manager Benjamin Luz said.

Their preferred way of learning more about eco-tourism is through a day tour, 82 percent; from the Internet, 60 percent and from school lectures, 53 percent.

Only 37 percent of the respondents said they have experienced eco-tourism trips, such as trekking, tree planting activities, swimming and snorkeling, island hopping, caving, zip line and others.

More than half of the respondents or 56 percent said Ilonggos in general appreciate the potentials of eco-tourism in Iloilo, but this is affected to some extent by limited marketing and promotional activities.

The survey revealed that close to half of the respondents said there were no information at all while 40 percent said there were no suitable eco-tourism sites in the area.

The survey also showed that more than half of the respondents or 56 percent said there was limited accessibility to eco-tourism areas, while half of them said Ilonggos were not environmentally conscious at all.

Noteworthy in their preferences for gaining information was that respondents from the public schools or 90 percent said they tend to get information from friends and family and from traditional sources such as brochures available in transportation terminals.

Meanwhile, respondents from the private schools were more diverse in their sources, to include Internet and media, travel magazines and have more access to technology because they have the means to do so.

CUI intern Fil-Canadian Michael Esteras, who conducted the study together with the CUI-Philippines Team, said the survey intended to create a market profile for a domestic market in Iloilo City, as well as identify the potential for eco-tourism in Maasin, Cabatuan, Leon and Alimodian.

The CUI said that targeting schools as potential clients for ecotourism tours in the province will not only make them aware of the existence of such sites, but help the local communities earn a living, as schools have the captive population for eco-tourism trips.

CUI added that the survey served as primary research for a more comprehensive market research regarding competition, current and future trends in the tourism industry.

The survey, among others also aimed to determine the respondentsí definition of eco-tourism, expectations in a tourism resort, nature, frequency and average length of trips and vacations, and their preferred mode of transport, payment and basic facilities in a resort. (JCM/ESS-PIA6 Iloilo) - Timeline 2012