Left photo: A CRERDEC staff conducting the KAP survey (right photo) The participatory stakeholder analysis workshop.

Understanding the attitudes and perceptions of the local communities towards sustainable tourism is indeed important.

The candid responses and insights shared by the tourism stakeholders of Kawasan Falls in Badian, Cebu during the Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP) Survey on October 12, 2021, presented a glimpse of the town’s tourism situation, opportunities, and future challenges.

CRERDEC, through its Technology Transfer Promotion and Extension Unit (TTPEU), continues its efforts to promote science-based technologies among its environment and natural resources clients.

The formulation of a site-specific Strategic Communication Plan (SCP) is essential to achieve this noble goal.

However, TTPEU recognizes the need for information, knowledge, and participation of local tourism stakeholders to formulate a viable SCP that would address local issues. Hence, a KAP survey was conducted in Badian, Cebu.

Badian is a coastal municipality in the southwest part of Cebu that sits along the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS).  It boasts of a picturesque and fresh cascade of clear turquoise water, the Kawasan Falls.

Thirty (30) stakeholders comprising representatives from the local government units (LGUs), including municipal and barangay units, academe, community members belonging to local people’s organizations (POs), private and tour associations in Badian, participated in this year’s KAP Survey facilitated by the Coastal Resources and Ecotourism Research, Development and Extension Center (CRERDEC).

Participants revealed that key officials and stakeholders must step up and take urgent positive action to preserve and conserve the town’s natural wonder, the multi-tier waterfalls.

Results of the KAP survey were validated through a Focus Group Discussion (FGD). A participatory problem tree and stakeholder analysis workshop was also conducted to discuss in detail the tourism-related issues, the causes and effects in terms of environmental, economic, and social aspects.

The most common concerns raised by the participants are improper waste disposal, illegal structures within the easement zones, timber poaching, and other environment-related issues that play a crucial role in achieving sustainable tourism in the area.

According to TTPEU Head Joselito T. Sumabat, assessment of stakeholders’ knowledge and attitude as well as their practices relative to sustainable tourism will provide critical baseline material in the preparation of CRERDEC’s site-specific Strategic Communication Plan for 2022.

He explained further the significance of those activities as part of CRERDEC’s adoption of science-based approaches such as carrying capacity (CarCap).

Mayor Carmencita L. Lumain of Badian acknowledged the efforts of CRERDEC and expressed optimism that through the research sector’s support, Kawasan Falls will achieve its maximum sustainable tourism development.

Mayor Lumain also disclosed that like other tourism municipalities, they too suffer substantial losses and setbacks due to COVID-19.

She hopes that the stakeholder’s involvement in the survey will truly be beneficial as they are looking forward to grasp the science-based approach of CarCap that will aid them in the proper conservation of the ecosystems and biodiversity of Kawasan Falls.

Municipal Tourism Officer, Mr. Earl Endab who was supportive of CRERDEC’s initiative, also yearns to address several issues and problems in Kawasan Falls.

As the LGU, according to him, is currently formulating its Tourism Management Plan, the KAP survey and FGD activities were just in time as information generated could be valuable inputs to said plan.

Mr. Endab is confident that tourists can savor soon the Kawasan Falls as a truly splendid and real ecotourism destination in Cebu, providing stable employment and income-earning opportunities to communities in Badian, now and the future. //TTPEU-CRERDEC