AYALA Land (ALI), together with joint venture partner Sicogon Island Development Corp. (SIDECO), is developing the Sicogon Island Tourism Estate in support of the government’s Western Visayas tourism drive. Built on the pillars of a balanced, accessible, and sustainable development, the Sicogon Island Tourism Estate in Carles, Iloilo will give rise to a mixed-use of commercial and residential establishments and an integrated transport system which will cater to a diverse mix of local and international markets.
The upward trajectory of tourist arrivals and emerging businesses in Sicogon paves the way for greater employment potential for the community. The development of the island into a sustainable tourism estate involves continuing community engagement, skills training, and capacity building initiatives.
“All our efforts are geared towards upholding responsible eco-tourism, as well as bringing about inclusive growth in communities such as Sicogon,” said Ryan Ybanez, General Manager of Sicogon Island Tourism Estate Corp. (SITE Corp). “As much as possible, retail will be localized and will feature Filipino-inspired architecture,” he added.
While development is underway, ALI is working closely with Ayala Foundation and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) as well as partner schools Leon Ganzon Polytechnic College (LGPC) and Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College (NIPSC) to provide training for local talents, and to prepare them for employment on the island or by ALI partner network companies.
ALI’s commitment to sustainable communities has made it easier for residents to start or own new micro-financed businesses that serve tourists and future locators. These include services such as Nito weaving, fish processing, and production of kayak and tourist boats.
ALI’s integrated “train and employ” approach has produced a total of 57 college scholars, 315 local trainees in various tourism-related fields. Nearly 200 locals are now working in Sicogon Island.
The company plans to source 80-90 percent of the estate’s workforce from the local community, which will translate to 20,000 jobs in the next 5 years.
ALI is also engaging the community in the conservation of its native vegetation and mangroves. The team has already planted 18,000 saplings which were propagated in its own tree nurseries. ALI has also ensured the use of endemic species to make the development more climate resilient, ultimately developing the island into a premier tourist destination that is in harmony with nature.
These initiatives in Sicogon Island, and in all of Ayala Land’s developments nationwide, have been geared towards redefining the eco-tourism estate business model. “Our primary concern is always the proper care and conservation of our natural resources for the benefit of future generations,” said Ybanez.
Ayala Land continues to spearhead similar efforts as part of Alagang Ayala Land, the company’s commitment to social development and environmental stewardship.