Ten Knots Group gets WFEN certification
Ten Knots Group, a Palawan-based upscale resort chain, was recently awarded by the prestigious Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN) the world’s first-ever Sea Turtle Friendly Tourism Certification for its exceptional care for the aquatic animal.
Working with WFEN since 2017 to develop and implement best practice guidelines for resorts and tourism stakeholders to contribute to conservation, the group has demonstrated their commitment to sustainability and protection of biodiversity including critical mangrove, seagrass, and coral reef ecosystems.
A subsidiary of Ayala Land Inc., the group is composed of four luxury El Nido Resorts—Apulit Island, Miniloc Island, Lagen Island, and Pangulasian Island, and Lio Tourism Estate, a 325-hectare master-planned mixed-use sustainable resort community in mainland El Nido with low-density boutique hotels, commercial establishments, residences, restaurants and lifestyle shops.
The properties have met the requirements for mitigating key threats to sea turtles and their survival through their Be GREEN (Guard, Respect, Educate El Nido) program, which includes best practices to minimize negative impacts. Conservation practices include ensuring beachfront lighting that does not cause disorientation of hatchlings, and conduct of sea turtle patrols to help protect nests, hatchlings, and adult turtles from poachers and other threats.
Be GREEN started out as an environmental education program in 1999 for its staff, and eventually expanded to include nature interpretation trainings, community outreach, youth camps, and other projects undertaken by Ten Knots’ Environment and Sustainability Department.
“This certification comes at an opportune time as Ten Knots Group celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and validates our efforts, showing us we are on the right track when it comes to preserving the environment.” says marketing director Joey Bernardino.
The resorts highlight guest education to ensure the safety of sea turtles and have also eliminated disposable plastic products to help address marine plastic pollution. They also undertake periodical coastal and underwater cleanup efforts to ensure the health of the marine ecosystem.
“We are proud to add Ten Knots as part of the global Wildlife Friendly family of brands. They are a model we hope other resorts around the world will be inspired by to protect our fragile marine resources through tourism that advances conservation outcomes for species like sea turtles,” says WFEN executive director and co-founder Julie Stein.
WFEN is a recipient of World Bank Development Marketplace Award winners, a UN Equator Prize, leadership in the world’s marketplace for REDD+ Carbon Offsets, and a Time Hero for the Planet. its certification programs represent grassroots farmers, ranchers, herders, artisans, indigenous peoples and conservation heroes from around the world.
The Sea Turtle Friendly Tourism program will be open to global applicants this year, whose standards were developed by the world’s sea turtle experts including Romy Trono, and the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST), among others.
Located in northern Palawan, El Nido town is habitat to over 850 fish species, 45 genera of corals, over a hundred bird species, and five out of the country’s seven marine turtle species. Its beaches are important nesting habitat for three including the endangered Green, the critically endangered Hawksbill and the vulnerable Olive Ridley sea turtle.
Other rare and protected species within the El Nido Resorts include the Palawan Hornbill, the Asian Fairy-Bluebird, and the Philippine Pangolin.