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Monday, February 6, 2012

“Sustainable Tourism: Challenges for the Philippines” by Ramon Benedicto C. Alampay Reviewed by: Karen Grace Kabingue

              The most common definition of sustainable development is: “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987).” In essence, for sustainable development to occur there must be some sort of trade-off between the aspirations of the present and those of the future. Successful management of resources is the cornerstone of sustainable development. Creating sustainable development is especially important to nature based tourism because it completely relies on an ecological resource that is usually non-renewable and irreplaceable. Once the environmental resource has developed past the point where it is no longer attractive to perspective tourist the entire economy of the dependent host community will collapse. Through tourism, the Philippines aspires to become a stronger player in the integrated travel industry of today. Yet, the country realizes that to do so, it must conserve, protect, and strengthen the cultural, historical, and natural resources upon which the Philippines draws its unique competitive advantages. All these are in a manner that can be sustained for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations of Filipinos.

             I want to discuss what the content of the research entitled “Sustainable Tourism: Challenges for the Philippines” by Ramon Benedicto C. Alampay in cooperation of the Philippine APEC Study Center Network (PASCN) and the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS.) I hope this would be a challenge to our environmentalist and ordinary citizen to take care for our environment.

The Challenge of Sustainable TourismDevelopment in the Philippines

 The article has attempted to describe the challenges of sustainable tourism development in the Philippines in terms of economic sustainability, ecological sustainability, and social equity. It has also outlined the roles that three key sectors—national government, private industry, and local communities— need to play in building partnerships for sustainable tourism development at both the national and local levels.
We know the fact that tourism holds the promise of increased employment and income opportunities, particularly for Filipinos living in the coastal and rural areas of the country. Yet, it is an industry built upon the most fragile of natural and cultural environments, where the most inconsequential and innocent of human gestures can easily wreak havoc on the site’s resources. This is the challenge of sustainable tourism development.

  It was pointed out that tourism is expected to become an even more important weapon in the Philippines’ economic arsenal. However, both our tourist markets and the Philippine tourism industry itself have become more aware of the negative environmental and social costs associated with tourism development. The country has thus begun to recognize the need to adopt new development approaches in order to come up with tourist products that are environmentally sensitive and economically viable.

Developing a sustainable national tourism industry:

Rodolfo’s (2003) examined the role of national government in facilitating or constraining the sustained growth of the national tourism industry through a comparative analysis of the tourism development policies of Thailand and the Philippines. Applying the three core principles of sustainable development to the national tourism industries of Thailand and the Philippines, his study showed that the economic sustainability of tourism is the primary driver of both countries’ tourism industry.

A Comparison of Tourism Policy Frameworks:The Philippines and Thailand

Main idea: The Philippines lags behind its Southeast Asian neighbors in terms of volume of arrivals (tourist) due to higher costs of tourism products and services in the Philippines relative to Thailand and Malaysia, insufficient air access, and the lack of variety in attractions and products.

The first section discusses the background of the study while the second one explores the role of policiesin tourism development. The next two sections trace the evolution of policy frameworks in Philippines and Thailand. The levels of policy influence in critical decision areas like market priorities, ownership, concentration of power, nature of development, infrastructure, manpower, and environmental and cultural concerns, are then compared in the succeeding section. Finally, the author summarizes the lessons from Thailand’s experience and its findings.

Toward the Development of Sustainable Tourism Indicators: An Analysis of Sustainable Tourism Programs and Practices Among ASEAN National Tourism Organizations

Main Idea:The tourism masterplans have very strong resemblance to each other in terms of strategies forachieving tourism development.

            The NTOs of the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand have incorporated sustainable tourism principles into their tourism master plans. This orientation in turn was brought about by the growing clamor for change in development paradigm from the international community. The tourism master plans have very strong resemblance to each other in terms of strategies for achieving tourism development.
            While there has been significant progress in the adoption of sustainable tourism paradigm at the national levels, the diffusion of such philosophy to the local level has been quite slow. This may be attributed to a lack of understanding and appreciation of the concept of sustainable tourism development. Concepts of ecotourism, community-based tourism and sustainable tourism, though related, tend to be used interchangeably. The operationalization of sustainable tourism principles has also been very sluggish. The scarcity of case materials on best practices the lackluster participation in voluntary initiatives attest to the uneasy transition to sustainability.

A Framework for Classifying Ecotourism Initiatives in the Philippines

Main Idea: Ecotourism has been one of thefastest growing tourism niches in the Philippines. Its promise of sustainedenvironmental, social, and economic gains makes ecotourism the preferredtype of development for different tourism organizations

This article looks into the current status of ecotourism initiatives in the Philippines and suggests a classification scheme or framework to be followed and adopted by the industry. This study looks at ecotourism programs and projects in the Philippines and attempts to develop a framework for classifying and evaluating such initiatives that the tourism industry could subsequently adopt.

Perceived Tourism Impact on Indigenous Communities: A Case Study of Sagada in Mountain Province: Juline R. Dulnuan

The emergence of new forms of tourism has focused the discussion of tourism impact on indigenous peoples (IPs) whose pristine and biologically diverse homelands have become natural targets. In particular, ecotourism, often defined as nature-based sustainable tourism, is currently the most aggressively promoted product of a global tourism industry that sells “relatively undisturbed and preserved natural environments and exotic areas” (Chavez 1999).

This study describes the impacts of tourism as perceived by the residents of Sagada, a mountain resort town in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) in Northern Luzon. The Cordillera (Figure 1) is home to the most number of indigenous peoples in the country, accounting for almost 1.4 million out of the 7 million inhabiting the Philippine uplands. The region is vast and rich in natural resources. It is where most of the country’s mineral reserves, particularly gold and copper, are found. It is also the watershed cradle and prime ecological zone of Northern Luzon.
Tourism development level, access and control Tourism in Sagada is in place and can be categorized as community-based. Its development which was unplanned (“tourism just happened”) started small and slow and remains to be so. This may change, however, in the next few years as the tourist arrivals grow. In 2000, for example, the total number of visitors to the community accounted for 40 percent of the total tourist arrivals in Mountain Province. The number was also higher than the registered arrivals in Abra and the combined total arrival volume in the provinces of Kalinga and Apayao. Clearly, Sagada is now one of the most visited destinations in the Cordillera, notwithstanding the fact that the local tourism industry does not advertise itself.

Impact of Whalewatching on the Cetaceans and Coastal Populations in Bais City, Philippines

Whale watching is an ecotourism activity accepted as a sustainable use of cetacean populations

Whale watching ecotourism has provided a new source of income to the residents of Capiñahan. Although the income from whale watching ecotourism is not significantly higher than that of fishing and other livelihood activities, the households involved in the conduct of whale watching spend significantly higher on items (e.g., recreation) other than their basic necessities.

Whale watching has influenced the residents’ perception of the economic benefits from cetaceans. This in turn has led them to believe that keeping the cetaceans alive is more beneficial than hunting them. Yet, there are opposing perceptions about whale watching activities among the households.

Contested Space: Tourism, Power, and Social Relations: Jose Eleazar R. Bersales

How does rapid and accelerated change brought about by the appropriation of space reconfigure local power and social relations? This study intends to answer this question by looking at tourism development in two islands in Central Philippines. Specifically, it will look at the political dynamics of Philippine tourism development at the local level. This involves the study of space its appropriation and development, and how this relates to tensions in local social relations. It also focuses on the dimensions of power and how these are exercised locally.

While tourism policy has been generally elite-driven in most countries, including the Philippines, everyday struggles and conflicts that ensue at the local level reveal the culturally mediated manners in which issues are disputed and resolved. They also show the kinds of claimants to social and political influence. Such conflicts reveal the degree of community cohesion and the type of social relations that in turn are implicated in local understandings of tourism, the tourist-host encounter, and the attendant appropriation of space for tourism development

Maintaining Competitive Advantage in Tourism Organizations: Emerging Patterns of Employment and Challenges for HRD: Susan L. Solis

Globalization and changes in the world economy have threatened the economic viability of establishments worldwide. Labor flexibility, as one of the measures commonly utilized by many establishments to cope with the impact of globalization, is seen as being characterized by conditions inconsistent with the elements that would account for quality worker performance

The need to bridge the gap between conditions surrounding labor flexibility and conditions that ensure quality worker performance must be addressed if firms, particularly service establishments like hotels, are to gain competitive advantage and thus ensure their economic viability.


         This book is consist of various research made by different contributors that present different challenges for Philippines about sustainable tourism. The researchers gave different strategies about how other countries in Southeast Asia possibly survive in terms of sustainable tourism. The book itself is very detailed whereas the author wants to explain briefly what they have studied. It also tackles different perspective about sustainable tourism to compare the plans of our country Philippines is richer than other countries in terms of natural resources but it is very evident that we don’t have a long term plan for this unlike to Thailand. I hope before it’s too late our government take some actions in order to create various programs to sustain our resources through sustainable development.

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