In 2009, El Nido Foundation Inc. made a partnership with the Municipal Tourism Office and Coastal Resource Management Office in formulating modules for training tour guides. The said modules are focused more eco-awareness and visitor management. In this kind of training, skills are aimed to protect the fragile eco-system from the damage caused by tourists. With the participation of of local veteran tour guides, the modules were finally made.
The training of local tour guide instructors was conducted first in December 7-10, 2009. On January 27-29, 2010, the 1st Eco-Tour Guiding Training was conducted wherein 12 out of 20 trainees passed written and oral examinations. They were taught basic El Nido facts, basic ecology and basic tour guiding techniques.
As tourist arrivals reached 37 thousand mark in 2010 and 2011 and is poised to reach 40 thousand in 2012, the organizers decided to increase the number of guides who know how to protect the eco-systems. The 2nd Eco-Tour Guiding training, which was attended by 32 aspiring tour guides, was finally conducted in September 26-28, 2012. This time, basic food handling and ‘Green Fin’ eco-awareness campaign was added to the modules which was in preparation for the Green Fins’ accreditation program in El Nido. Green Fins is an international organization assessing and promoting dive companies that prevent their guests from damaging underwater eco-systems. This will be the 1st time that they will accredit snorkeling tour operators.
Once the number of eco-tour guides needed are met, the organizers plan to conduct advanced eco-tour guiding trainings that will include in-depth nature interpretation and eco-tour designing. Specialization in different eco-systems is also eyed in order to produce mangrove guides, cave guides etc. With these developments, El Nido seems on track in its push to diversify tourism products.