Beach Carrying Capacity Assessment of Coastal Ecotourism in Calatagan, Batangas, Phlippines

Alicia R Quicoy, Nicomedes D Briones
Vol 12 No 2 (2009), pp. 11-27




The estimation of carrying capacity of coastal ecotourism, particularly for swimming, was conducted in Calatagan, Batangas where tourism is starting to be a major local industry. Tourism is based on the attractions provided by natural resources and tourists normally look for places that are not yet densely populated with clean, peaceful and beautiful natural environment.  Carrying capacity, as a measure of sustainability, is a practical tool to maintain the balance between development and conservation of tourism resources. 

Perceptions, attitudes and behavior of sample respondents in selected Calatagan coastal barangays were solicited in relation to conservation of coastal resources such as additional demand for freshwater and solid waste management brought about by tourism development. Tourists chose to go to Calatagan because they find the community peaceful and serene (19%), because of its beautiful beaches (19%), and rich marine resources such as beautiful coral reefs (14%); which are all enticing for diving and snorkeling activities.

The carrying capacity for swimming area was estimated using different standards for exploration. Using Boullon's standard of 500 m2, the actual average daily visitors in Calatagan are way beyond the carrying capacity in terms of swimming area throughout the year, especially during peak months (March to May). On the other hand, using both the lower limit and upper limit of the standards for swimming area per swimmer by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (4.65-9.30 m2), the actual number of visitors either during lean or peak months for the current year, were still very much below the carrying capacity of Calatagan, except during the projected 2010 peak months. Based on the ocular observation during the conduct of the survey, the standard of 4.65-9.30 m2 per swimmer was found more suited to the Calatagan scenario and probably, to the Philippine scenario as well.


Keywords: marine resources, carrying capacity, ecotourism

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