An island-province created in 1992, Guimaras has a land area of 60,457 hectares and a population of 141,450 (2000 census). Lack of employment and other economic opportunities are major problems. Income classification is 4th class, and poverty incidence is 29.6% in 1997 and 22.6% in 2000.
The provincial government embarked on a 3Ps, or Private-Public Partnership, program focused on developing the tourism industry. Features of the program are cultural heritage preservation, environmental protection, and economic empowerment.
To institutionalize the program, ordinances were enacted and policies issued, including the Provincial Environment Code, the Comprehensive Provincial Tourism Ordinance, and the Provincial Agri-Tourism Master Plan. In process is the Provincial Investment Code.
Infrastructures for tourism support services were set up, including water and power systems, guest assistance centers, and the Guimaras Trade and Information Center.
Offices and social structure were established, such as the Provincial Economic Development Office, municipal tourism offices, barangay tourism councils, and tourism-related groups.
Community and industry groups were organized to participate in planning, marketing and promotion, and other initiatives. Tourist attraction activities included community-based heritage tours and barangay, municipal, and provincial festivals.
Investments in the development of resorts had so far amounted to P408 million, mostly from Guimaranons themselves. The program had generated more economic opportunities and income. Tourist arrivals increased by 39% in 2002, and 13.3% in 2003. Tourism receipts were P49.8 million in 2001, P106 million in 2002, and P128.3 million in 2003.
Guimaras is now out of the Club 20, the list of most depressed provinces.
This program is recognized as a Trailblazing Program, a finalist for the 2004 Galing Pook Awards.