West Isa Eco Tourism Association (WIETA) in Kia, Isabel Province had raised deep concern over growing number of logging companies operating in that region which poses threat to tourism there.
The concern was raised last week during a two days meeting organised by the association held at one of the newly built eco lodge known as Isa Isao Eco lodge, which was also partly funded by this association, outside of Kia , Western end of Isabel Province.
The executive met to discuss how best to help interested and existing operators promote and market their products as their area known as Barora Fa is of great potential to venture into this industry.
Association vice chair lady Christina Maezama in statement to Solomon Star yesterday said, WIETA is mainly to nurture local tourism operators who have resources but does not have a better knowledge about tourism industry.
“Our association is mainly to help locals who have beautiful sites but don’t know how to develop them therefore we want to help them with advice and technical assistance on how best they could benefit from their area more sustainably.
“Sometimes locals don’t know how to develop their resources and ends up giving it to wrong destructive developments like logging,” Ms Maezama said during the meeting last week.
She added the western end of the province is a great area for tourism investment and already few local operators are starting their small tourism businesses.
She pointed out that, one of the association recent challenges and disappointments is the recent logging activity that is currently at Barora Fa.
“The association believes that such logging activities will spoil some of our future plans if the activity continues to move in other areas in Barora Fa, we call on the landowners, provincial government and responsible authorities to discourage such activity to continue devastating our areas.
“We do not discourage you to develop your customary rights but be mindful of the type of development you did, because in the end whether it benefit for your future or just for now,” she said.
Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) Research Officer, Laurie Leketo who witnessed the meeting and also a member of the association said, the customary landowners of Barora Fa must think carefully before giving their areas to such destructive logging activity.
He said, logging is not the only option to develop Barora Fa, besides the area is integrated with lots of potential for tourism, agriculture, fisheries, conservation, and most importantly the area is the survival for most people living in and around Kia Village.
“Everywhere was already destroyed by logging and only this area was spared. Therefore most people, even not land owners go there to look for food and money, and currently the harvesting of Bechedemar, had benefit nearly everybody to meet their needs,” Mr Leketo said.
Mr Leketo said, the association needs support from the national Government, NGOs, Provincial Government and community chiefs to help achieve some of their priorities and future plans for tourism on this west side of Isabel.
By DENVER NEWTER