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Ayala Land’s Lio estate wins award from prestigious sustainable tourism body

The dynamic Northern Palawan Lio Tourism Estate was awarded a spot last March 6 in the prestigious “Sustainable Destinations Top 100” list at the world’s largest tourism trade fair, the ITB Berlin.

An international jury acknowledged the 325-hectare community being developed by Ayala Land Inc. subsidiary Ten Knots Development Corp. (TKDC) for its overall sustainability and its success in destination management. The unique award organized by non-profit Green Destinations recognizes innovation and good practices in the development of global tourist sites. Green Destinations leads a global partnership of organizations, companies and academic institution focused on sustainable tourism.

In Lio’s success story cited in the sustainable100.org website, the estate is referred to as “a top destination for the protection of nature, and landscape and scenery…. the first masterplanned ecologically sustainable tourism” spot in the Philippines. Still in the process of rolling out its masterplan, Lio officials have been distinguished for persistently educating contractors and their workers on the need to follow strict environmental standards through education seminars.

TKDC group director of sales and marketing Joey Bernardino, who received the award in Berlin, revealed: “By helping all our workers understand the principles of impact management and wild-life friendly practices, we are creating more stewards of the environment.”

The sustainable100.org website also cited TKDC’s intention to preserve existing waterways, mangrove stands and surrounding forests as reflected in its masterplan. The company’s commitment to use native vegetation rather than exotics that may not thrive in a harsh seaside environment was likewise seen as a sound preparation for a “community that will exist for a long time.”

Javier Hernandez, TKDC chief operating officer, has previously said: “When you arrive at Lio, we don’t want you to be focused on our buildings but rather than on our great stretch of beach, the clear waters that surround us, and how we have remained a nature retreat.”

Currently, Lio offers guests four hotels designed to blend in with the environment. The latest is the sprawling 153-room Seda Lio targeted towards global travelers with no structure jutting above the coconut treeline. The designs of Casa Kalaw with 42 rooms, Balai Adlao and Covo – both with 20 rooms each – are likewise respectful of the surroundings.

Lio’s retail area has also been established to allow local Palawan residents to participate in the area’s economic growth. Half of the retail strip’s merchants hail from the local community.

Stewardship of the environment and relations with the local community are in fact supervised by a director for sustainability supported by environmental officers who monitor and measure those efforts. Sustainability director Mariglo Laririt stated: “Lio has been designed to celebrate its unique Palawan environment and to enhance the quality of life of neighboring communities by giving them opportunities for inclusive economic growth. Being part of the ‘Sustainable Destinations Top 100’ list is an affirmation that we are on the right track.”