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Should Banton be opened to local and foreign tourism?

This is a response to the topic posted in the Banton Group at Facebook.

Should Banton be opened to local and foreign tourism? Banton needs tourism to boost its loal economy which has, for a long time, depended on inward remittances and government spending. Declining population attests that the local economy is slowly but steadily declining. There is not much of a choice.

Tourism means jobs as they say it at DOT. I am not so much concerned about the ill effects of tourism in the island, if there are any. I believe they can be addressed. The bigger question, actually, is - how do we attract tourists?

There is so much that has yet to be done. First and foremost is transportation to and from Banton. With the present situation, no matter how much there is to see or experience in Banton, tourists would not flock in. We can probably have one or two visitors.

But these should not deter us. There are so many Bantoanons outside of Banton and I believe that if only they go home annually, that would mean a lot to the local economy. Baka bukoey kahinangyan ka turistang dayo. One good thing about this group is they won't mind so much the discomfort of travel and the inadequacy of facilities. They are Bantoanons, after all. That was what's in my mind when I composed the song - "Pauli Anay"

A few years ago, we launched the Banton 2003 Project aimed at fast-tracking tourism development in Banton. I don't know if any one remembered the development of the sites (Guyangan Caves, beaches, parks, etc.) and the reinstitutionalization of cultural activities (Flores de Mayo, Cultural Games, Sanrokan Festival, etc.). We encouraged reunions, all sorts (family, clan, classmates, etc.), that later on, one of my brothers, coined the phrase: Banton - Reunion Capital of the World.

Two years after the launching of the Banton 2003 Project, it became apparent that fast-tracking was not possible. It became heavy on the pockets of supporters. The project was not self-sustaining. Pay apila ka nagbababadar pag napaagto sa mga beaches. Business groups in Banton who benefit from the influx of people (transport operators, stores, etc.) are not willing to share in the burden.

Apparently, every Bantoanon should embrace the culture of tourism and should be willing to invest for the industry to become sustainable.

I have not given up though even if the Banton 2003 Project is gone. The Banton 2003 vision is still in my mind. I have my lessons learned - indi giahaton agor buko mahapros.

Just a year ago, I launched the VISIT BANTON website. Other than the usual display of tourist sites, it also focuses on activities in Banton. I just hope activity organizers would take advantage of the free site. I still continue to support "Baliks" and the Flores de Mayo.

It is nice to see that other groups and individuals are making their own effort to promote tourism. We now have a fish sanctuary and it seems there will be another soon. Cultural awareness is growing - thanks to ASSCA and 1622.

One day, all the fruits of our efforts will converge. When that time comes, I believe, the re-launch of Baton as a tourism destination will have more chances of success.


  • Posted
  • 6/19/2009 12:49:09 AM
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Name maximo p fabella 
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