Palawan’s tourism boom – benefit or threat?

Palawan is renowned for its rich biodiversity and often referred to as ‘the last frontier’ of the Philippines, providing a last refuge for many regionally and globally endangered species.

However, a phenomenal rate of tourism growth is currently being experienced in the province, with a 34% rise in visitors to the capital city  in 2009. Post-WW2, the population of Palawan has grown at a far greater rate than can be explained by any process other than migration at a massive scale.

Most alarming is the fast pace at which investors are buying up or leasing pristine islands and tracts of coastline for resort and pearl farm development. They can also extend ownership to adjacent coastal waters and thereby exclude fishers from their traditional fishing grounds. With declining fish stocks there is already substantial livelihood pressure on local communities  and this exclusion will only increase concentration of fishing effort in the remaining accessible areas.

palawan marine lake