Luxury accommodations amid a biodiverse marine ecosystem, where holidaymakers can relax in peace in the same place where aquatic animals thrive. This could very well be written all over in the upscale resorts in El Nido, Palawan after they received a wildlife tourism recognition.
Palawan-based resort chain Ten Knots Group was recently awarded by the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN), the world’s first-ever “Sea Turtle Friendly Tourism Certification,” for its exceptional care for the aquatic animal.
According to the group, it has been working with WFEN since 2017 to develop and implement best practice guidelines for resorts and tourism stakeholders to contribute to conservation.
A subsidiary of Ayala Land Inc., the group is composed of four luxury El Nido resorts—Apulit Island, Miniloc Island, Lagen Island, and Pangulasian Island—and Lio Tourism Estate, a 325-hectare master-planned mixed-use sustainable resort community in mainland El Nido with low-density boutique hotels, commercial establishments, residences, restaurants, and lifestyle shops.
Ten Knots boasts that each of its property has met the requirements for mitigating key threats to sea turtles and their survival through its Be GREEN (Guard, Respect, Educate El Nido) program, which includes best practices to minimize negative impacts.
Conservation practices include ensuring beachfront lighting does not cause disorientation of hatchlings, and conducting sea turtle patrols to help protect nests, hatchlings, and adult turtles from poachers and other threats.
Located in northern Palawan, El Nido town is home to over 850 fish species, 45 genera of corals, over a hundred bird species, and five out of the country’s seven marine turtle species. Its beaches are important nesting habitat for the endangered Green, the critically endangered Hawksbill, and the vulnerable Olive Ridley sea turtle.
Other rare and protected species within the aforementioned El Nido resorts include the Palawan Hornbill, the Asian Fairy-Bluebird, and the Philippine Pangolin.
Be GREEN started out as an environmental education program in 1999 for Ten Knots’ staff, and eventually expanded to include nature interpretation trainings, community outreach, youth camps, and other projects undertaken by the group’s Environment and Sustainability Department.
“This certification comes at an opportune time as Ten Knots Group celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and validates our efforts, showing us we are on the right track when it comes to preserving the environment,” marketing director Joey Bernardino said in a statement.
Enjoining guests in the cause, the resorts highlight education to ensure safety of sea turtles, and have also eliminated disposable plastic products to help address marine plastic pollution. They also undertake periodical coastal and underwater cleanup efforts to ensure the health of the marine ecosystem.
“We are proud to add Ten Knots as part of the global Wildlife Friendly family of brands,” enthused WFEN executive director and co-founder Julie Stein.
Stein added, “They are a model we hope other resorts around the world will be inspired by to protect our fragile marine resources through tourism that advances conservation outcomes for species like sea turtles.”
WFEN’s certification programs represent grassroots farmers, ranchers, herders, artisans, indigenous peoples, and conservation heroes from around the world.
The Sea Turtle Friendly Tourism program will be open to global applicants this year, whose standards were developed by the world’s sea turtle experts including veteran Filipino conservationist Romy Trono and the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network, among others.