Two consecutive carrying capacity trainings were conducted by the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau-Coastal Resources and Ecotourism Research, Development and Extension Center (ERDB-CRERDEC) in the municipalities of Moalboal and Oslob – two of the major tourist hot spots of Southern Cebu in November 2020.

The trainings aimed to promote the carrying capacity in nature-based tourism destinations as a management tool to ensure sustainability. A team of technical staff from CRERDEC served as resource persons during the said trainings.

The training in Moalboal was a result of the Information and Training Needs Assessment (ITNA) that was conducted on September 10, 2020. Held on November 10 to 11, it focused on raising awareness and understanding among the concerned offices of the local government unit (LGU), concerned barangay LGUs, and officers of people’s organizations (PO) involved in tourism activities.

In her message, Moalboal Mayor, Paz A. Rozgoni underscored the importance of the participants’ involvement as synonymous to supporting the pressing need of strengthening and promoting sustainable tourism in the municipality. She also emphasized that nature doesn’t need humans but humans need nature to survive.

Mayor Rozgoni urged representatives of the POs and BLGUs to take a pro-active stand to ensure sustainability of the tourist destinations of the municipality and advised them to grab this learning opportunity to acquire new knowledge for natural resources conservation and community development.

On the other hand, the training in Oslob held on November 13 to 14, was part of the center’s implementation of the CY 2020 Strategic Communication Plan for the promotion of carrying capacity technology.

Aside from representatives from the Municipal and Barangay LGUs, the Department of Tourism Region 7 (DOT-7), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG-7), the business sector and the People’s Organizations were also represented. Oslob Mayor Jose Tumulak, Jr. said that the condition of the environment can be compared to that of the humans in which we need to take care of. He said that in the worst-case scenario, our environment can trigger a pandemic-like situation just like what we have now if not cared for.

Moalboal is popular for its “sardines run” and as the diving capital of Cebu, while Oslob is famous for its whale-watching activity, the Tumalog Falls, and Sumilon Island. Both municipalities contributed large revenues to the province due to its tourism industry. But the current pandemic situation has greatly affected this contribution. Municipal mayors of both LGUs are encouraging their respective constituents to actively involve themselves in the protection and conservation of their most treasured resources, especially their coastal and marine resources. Ma. Jonesca Joy E. Bautista, CRERDEC