Sustainable sanctuaries: Ayala Land’s Regenerative Tourism Redefines Travel

As published on The Philippine Star

Tourism, a vital global industry, had a brief hiatus but is now booming once more. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), it supports one in 10 jobs worldwide and contributes 9.1% of the global GDP. However, it also accounts for around 8% of greenhouse gas emissions, a figure that could rise to 25% by 2030 if unchecked.

Years of experience in delighting people with spaces for distinct leisurely experiences have equipped leading property developer Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) to take on the challenges that tourism brings and faces today. Its subsidiary, Ten Knots Group, owner and operator of the famed El Nido Resorts and Lio Estate in El Nido, Palawan, has been at the forefront of world-class resort stays. Sustainable tourism in the Philippines is synonymous with Ten Knots.

Ready for regenerative tourism

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Guests of El Nido Resorts engaged in the various nature-based activities available at the resorts.

Pangulasian, Lagen, and Miniloc Island Resorts offer a perfect blend of leisure and experiential learning, designed to foster environmental awareness and cultural respect. Guests can take part in activities such as mangrove walks and coral reef monitoring, lending a hand in conservation efforts that are climate mitigating and make a tangible difference. It is this long-time familiarity with meaningful and purposive programs that makes Ayala Land ready to embark on a journey towards the next stage of sustainability, Regenerative Tourism. Acknowledging that tourism can be a force for healing and rebuilding, ALI upholds these regenerative principles in its properties while ensuring that guests continue to have a dream of a vacation.

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Ten Knots partners with various universities for marine surveys of coral reefs in El Nido to understand their responses and to improve conservation practices.

Imagine a holiday which not only rejuvenates you, but also heals the planet. Ayala Land invites you to discover sustainable luxury at its breathtaking El Nido Resorts and Lio Estate in Palawan, where conservation and comfort go hand-in-hand. These immersive experiences foster environmental awareness and make a tangible impact, embodying Ayala Land’s commitment to regenerative tourism—a holistic approach that transforms tourism into a force for ecological and community healing.

Ecosystem and biodiversity improvement

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El Nido’s pristine reefs and forests are living classrooms for guests. Participate in snorkeling or diving expeditions where you might spot sensors monitoring sea temperatures, or join efforts to control coral predators. Guests at El Nido can witness these efforts firsthand, engaging in activities such as snorkeling in protected reefs or helping control the crown-of-thorns starfish population. These hands-on experiences enrich the stay and contribute to preserving marine ecosystems.

These science-backed conservation initiatives, featured in prestigious forums like the UNESCO Ocean Decade Conference, ensure that your vacation contributes to preserving these vital ecosystems.

Community first

At the heart of Ayala Land’s philosophy is a commitment to uplifting local communities. Ten Knots prioritizes local hiring and sourcing, providing training and meaningful livelihoods. This approach enriches interactions between guests and locals, turning every stay into a culturally enriching experience. Repeat visitors often find that the resort staff become like family, fostering a deep sense of community. This community-first approach not only enhances guest experiences but also supports local economies and reduces economic leakage.

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Ten Knots partners with the local fishing community to introduce guests to traditional fishing techniques, helping to empower local partners. Photo by: Nikki Inso

Transparency and good governance

Lio Estate, with its serene forests and inviting trails, dedicates nearly 25% of its area as Carbon Forests. These areas are regularly audited to ensure the health of the ecosystem, and findings are shared transparently in sustainability reports. This commitment to transparency and good governance underscores Ayala Land’s dedication to future-proofing the environment.

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Tulay Suhai, a winding bridge in the Lio Tourism Estate, built specifically to curve around old pandan trees.

Diversity and inclusivity

El Nido offers activities for every type of traveler. For those who prefer land-based adventures, bird watching is a delightful option, with over 160 bird species to spot. The resorts also offer various zero-carbon-emission water

sports, promoting low-impact enjoyment and inclusivity. These diverse options help distribute tourist activities, reducing pressure on popular sites.

Broadening partnerships

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Ten Knots’ sea turtle conservation program spearheads the protection, hatching, and release of the marine turtles in Bacuit Bay in cooperation with local businesses, residents, and local authorities.

Ten Knots’ extensive data on marine turtles, gathered over decades, highlights its leadership in marine conservation. The El Nido Marine Turtle Conservation Network, co-founded by Ten Knots, continues to protect and rehabilitate turtle populations. Partnerships with local fishermen, women weavers, and various NGOs further bolster their community-centric approach.

Recognized excellence

Ten Knots’ efforts have earned numerous accolades, including awards from the Asian Ecotourism Network and Travel Daily Media in 2023. These honors

reflect the company’s global leadership in biodiversity conservation, environmental stewardship, and community engagement.

Ayala Land’s Vision

Ayala Land envisions a future where tourism not only minimizes its environmental footprint but actively creates positive change. By choosing El Nido Resorts and Lio Estate, guests join a pioneering movement in regenerative tourism, enjoying an unparalleled holiday experience that benefits both people and the planet.

Discover the allure of a sustainable getaway where every stay is a step towards a better future. Join Ayala Land in redefining luxury through the lens of regeneration and make your next holiday one that truly matters.