Sustainable Tourism

Sustainable Tourism Challenges for the Philippines Sustainable Tourism Challenges for the Philippines Edited by Ramon Benedicto A. Alampay Copyright 2005 By the Philippine APEC Study Center Network (PASCN) and the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) Printed in the Philippines. All rights reserved. The findings, interpretations and conclusions in this volume are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of PASCN and PIDS and other institutions associated with the PASCN project on sustainable tourism development. The publication of this volume is funded by PASCN and PIDS.
The members of PASCN include: Asian Institute of Management, Ateneo de Manila University, Central Luzon State University, De La Salle University, Foreign Service Institute, Mindanao State University, Philippine Institute for Development Studies (Lead Agency and Secretariat), Silliman University, University of Asia and the Pacific, University of San Carlos, University of the Philippines and Xavier University. Please address all inquiries to: Philippine APEC Study Center Network Secretariat NEDA sa Makati Building 106 Amorsolo St. Legaspi Village 1229 Makati City, Philippines Tel. no. : (63-2) 8939588, 8925817; (63-2) 8935705, 8924059
Fax No: (63-2) 8939588; PIDS (63-2) 8939589, 8161091 E-mail: [email protected] pids. gov. ph; [email protected] pids. gov. ph URL: http://pascn. pids. gov. ph; http://www. pids. gov. ph ISBN 971-564-083-4 RP 04-05-500 Table of Contents List of tables and figures Preface Chapter 1. The Challenge of Sustainable Tourism Development in the Philippines Ramon Benedicto A. Alampay vii x 1 Chapter 2. A Comparison of Tourism Policy Frameworks: The Philippines and Thailand Maria Cherry Lyn S. Rodolfo 23 Chapter 3. Toward the Development of Sustainable Tourism Indicators: An Analysis of Sustainable Tourism Programs and Practices Among ASEAN National

Tourism Organizations Reil G. Cruz 81 Chapter 4. A Framework for Classifying Ecotourism Initiatives in the Philippines Ramon Benedicto A. Alampay and Carlos Libosada 127 Chapter 5. Perceived Tourism Impact on Indigenous Communities: A Case Study of Sagada in Mountain Province Juline R. Dulnuan 161 Chapter 6. Impact of Whale Watching on our Cetaceans and Coastal Populations in Bais City, Philippines Florence C. Evacitas 205 v Chapter 7. Contested Space: Tourism, Power and Social Relations Jose Eleazar R. Bersales 239 Chapter 8. Maintaining Competitive Advantage in Tourism Organizations: Emerging Patterns of Employment nd Challenges for HRD Susan L. Solis 275 vi List of Tables and Figures Chapter 1 Figure 1 Figure. 2 Chapter 2 Table 1 Table 2 Table 3 Table 4 Table 5 Table 6 Table 7 Table 8 Table 9 Table 10 Table 11 Table 12 Table 13 Table 14 Table 15 Table 16 Table 17 Table 18 Table 19 Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 5 Figure 6 Chapter 3 Table 1 Table 2 Proposed conceptual framework for research on sustainable tourism development in the Philippines Perceived effects of increased tourist arrivals on family livelihood Visitors arrivals in Southeast Asia (1999-2002) Number of tourists and dollar receipts in Asian countries: 1968-1970
Arrivals and receipts from 1971 to 1977 Arrivals and receipts (1978-1986) Arrivals and receipts (1989-1997) Arrivals and receipts (1993-1998) Arrivals and receipts (1998-2004) Arrivals and receipts (1960-1976) Arrivals and receipts (1977-1981) Arrivals and receipts (1982-1986) Arrivals and receipts (1987-1991) Arrivals and receipts (1992-1996) Arrivals and receipts (1997-2001) Market dependency ratio (2000) DOT budget vs. total government appropriations (in pesos) Indices of centralization and decentralization Impediments to individual travel Summary of manpower trainings (1997-2001) Measures of tourism development Comparison of NTO budgets
Number of brochure pages and courses of top 10 Japanese travel agencies devoted to ASEAN beach destinations Comparative air access in major Asian airports (2002) Air access from Northeast Asia to Bangkok and Manila Comparative landing fees in Asia Number of hotel rooms in Asia (2001) Tourist arrivals and receipts (2000) Evaluation of Quality and Sustainability of Bang Tao Beach vii 4 19 24 29 30 32 33 34 37 38 39 40 40 43 45 51 53 54 57 67 69 60 61 62 62 64 66 81 118 Chapter 4 Table 1 Table 2 Table 3 Table 4 Table 5 Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 5 Figure 6 Figure 7 Chapter 5 Table 1 Table 2 Table 3 Table 4
Table 5 Table 6a Table 6b Table 7 Table 8 Figure 1 Figuer 2 Chapter 6 Table 1 Table 2 Table 3 Table 4 A Comparison of shallow vs. deep ecotourism Characteristics of hard and soft ecotourism Summary of ecotourism programs in the Philippines by location and by type of tourism resource base Examples of ecotourism sites or programs identified for each type of tourism resource base Ecotourism criteria as suggested by the Mohonk Agreement Ecotourism as a form of sustainable tourism Proposed classification framework for ecotourism programs Map of Olango Island Birds and Seascape Tour Location of Ulugan Bay on the Island of Palawan
Location of Gardens of Malasag on map of Cagayan de Oro City Advantages and disadvantages of each ecotourism category Planning implications of category of ecotourism Popular tourist destinations and their indigenous inhabitants Distribution of regional travelers in the Philippines (2000) Population by barangay and number of households, municipality of Sagada (2000) Chronology of tourism development in Sagada DOT-accredited accommodation establishments in Sagada (2001) Standard cave guide rates in Sagada Standard trekking guide rates in Sagada Visitor arrivals in Sagada by classification (1995-2000)
CAR tourist arrivals by city/province (1990-2000) Map of the Cordillera Region Map of Sagada in Mountain Province Relevant information on the five regular operating vessels in the whale watching industry in Bais City Cetacean species found in Tanon Strait in 1992 and 1998 Demographic profile of Capinahan, 1995-1999 Sociodemographic characteristics of the majority of the respondents from each household type viii 132 134 138 139 154 135 141 143 145 148 150 151 163 165 171 172 175 177 178 179 180 164 170 218 225 227 227 Figure 1 Figure 2 206 Figure 10 Vicinity map of Bais City, Negros Oriental Conceptual framework on the assessment of the mpact of whale watching on cetaceans and coastal population in Bais City, Negros Oriental Map of Bais City Showing Baranggay Capinahan Map of Barangay Capinahan showing the location of the Hindungawan wharf and other government owned facilities in the barangay Number of whale watching visitors in Bais City, by month (1998) Number of visiting domestic and foreign whale watchers in Bais City, 1996-1998 Income derived from whale-watching (based on specific schemes) Catch per unit effort in barangay Capinahan (1975-2000) Mean perception scores of the different household groups Mean attitude scores of different household groups Chapter 7 Table 1
Table 2 Sample of households and household size Role of tourism in the local economy 249 250 Profile of establishments Summary of flexible employment arrangements and positions assigned Minimum qualification requirements, recruitment methods, and screening measures Rate of pay: regular versus nonregular employees Benefits of regular versus nonregular employees Types of training of regular versus nonregular employees Performance evaluation of regular versus nonregular employees Comparison between regular and nonregular employees on occupational standards for the position of front office agent Comparison between regular and nonregular on ccupational skills standards for the position of food and beverage attendant Comparison between regular and nonregular employees on occupational standards for the position of room attendant 287 Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 5 Figure 6 Figure 7 Figure 8 Figure 9 Chapter 8 Table 1 Table 2 Table 3 Table 4 Table 5 Table 6 Table 7 Table 8 Table 9 Table 10 ix 213 217 218 219 220 221 226 231 232 288 290 291 291 292 292 293 294 295 P reface In his 1994 book Global Paradox, John Naisbitt described an increasingly integrated world order where the geographic boundaries of the nation-state would be blurred by formation technology.
However, in the paradox described by his book’s title, people and communities would more strongly assert their individual identity and cultural heritage even as they continued to participate in the global economy. Travel and tourism, he argued, was an industry well positioned for this new state of things. Tourism links countries together, yet it encourages uniqueness of place, identity, and tradition. In many ways, the challenge of instituting sustainable tourism development in the Philippines exhibits the elements found in Naisbitt’s paradox.
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. This collection of papers reflects the scope and complexity of sustainable tourism development.
In terms of scope, the articles were written from a range of perspectives. Rodolfo and Cruz’s articles views the issues of sustainability from international or regional perspectives—both of which seek to compare Philippine tourism development policy with those of other Southeast Asian countries. Rodolfo’s comparison of Thailand and the Philippines is more broadly defined and covers national tourism policy as a whole. Cruz, on the other hand, specifically tackles sustainable tourism development policy in the Philippines as compared to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
In contrast with these two papers are articles written from a micro perspective, where sustainability is discussed in the context of hotel operations (as in the article by Solis) as well as specific tourism communities such as Sagada in the Mountain Province (discussed by Dulnuan), Bais City in Negros Oriental (in Evacita’s paper), and Mactan and Panglao islands (Bersales). Alampay and Libosada’s thesis on classifying ecotourism initiatives lies somewhere in the middle as it touches on both national level policy as well as destination-level strategies through four case studies.
The various papers also mirror the complexity of sustainable tourism development, and they hint at the multidisciplinary approach that this mode of tourism needs to succeed. Each paper applies a different disciplinary framework to its particular tourism problem: economics, sociology, anthropology, environmental science, management science, human resources development, etc. Each provides a unique academic angle on sustainability and tourism. But, much like Kipling’s parable of the elephant x and the seven blind men, it is only when the separate accounts are brought together that one gets a complete picture of sustainable tourism development.
Thus, this collection of papers is auspicious in that it represents the first attempt to look at tourism policy from a cross-disciplinary, research-oriented viewpoint. In this light, we must acknowledge the initiative and support of Dr. Mario Lamberte and the Philippine APEC Study Center Network. This project would not have been possible without their support. Moreover, their decision to invest in this undertaking represents a much needed endorsement of tourism development as an important subject worthy of national policy research and action.
The challenge for researchers and policymakers will now be to sustain the effort and interest in this form of tourism development. As a compilation of research on sustainable tourism development in the Philippines, this collection is far from complete. It should be viewed for what it is—an incipient look at an area of policy research that seeks to lay the foundation for future investigations. Some of these future directions are suggested by the articles included here. For example, the community studies by Dulnuan, Evacitas, and Bersales hint of future research on maximizing or enhancing the poverty alleviating potential of tourism.
Our hope is that these papers will spur more thinking within the Philippines about the problems of tourism development and, most importantly, more action to ensure a sustainable tourism industry for all. Ramon Benedicto A. Alampay, Ph. D. xi Chapter 1 The Challenge of Sustainable Tourism Development in the Philippines Ramon Benedicto A. Alampay Introduction Early in 2002, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sought to raise the profile of the Philippine tourism industry by visiting selected tourist destinations around the country.
Each visit subsequently resulted in frontpage coverage of the President enjoying the country’s best tourist sites and activities. During her visit to the Tubbataha Reef, southeast of Palawan, the President was photographed underwater, smiling through her diving mask, her hands on top of some coral branches. Public response to the image was predictably mixed. Some sectors praised her for taking the lead in boosting a key dollar-earning industry of the country. Others, however, took issue with her perceived violation of a cardinal rule of responsible diving tourism by touching the corals.
However one views her action underwater, the image of President Arroyo at the Reef is a fitting symbol of sustainable tourism development in the Philippines today. Undoubtedly, 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.
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. Moreover, sustainable tourism as a research topic has been gaining popularity.
Articles about Asia-Pacific destinations can already be found with increasing ease in many academic publications (e. g. , Shaw 2000; Edmonds and Leposky 1998; Smith 1992). However, most of these have been case studies of specific localities. There have been even fewer publications dealing with broad national or industry-level inquiries. 2 Sustainable Tourism Cognizant of the growing importance of the subject, the Philippine APEC Study Center Network (PASCN) sponsored a team of researchers from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, UP Los Banos, and the University of Asia and the Pacific, to conduct a series of studies on the issue.
More specifically, the project sought to “evaluate the current state of the Philippine tourism industry from a sustainable tourism development perspective. ” The project involved analyzing the existing policy framework of the Philippine tourism industry and the place of sustainable tourism within it. It also included studies of trends, cases, and projects related to the industry’s attempts to apply the philosophy of sustainability to actual practice. This integrative article thus synthesizes the findings from the individual studies and identifies new directions both for industry and academe, as suggested by these studies.
The article discusses the conceptual framework for sustainable tourism that unites the independent researches. The model provides a thematic umbrella for the component studies of the project, which addresses one or more key elements of the framework. Later, this conceptual framework will also be used to synthesize the findings of the individual studies into a set of research and policy implications related to sustainable tourism development in the Philippines. Thus, the model reflects the thinking that sustainable tourism development involves both planning philosophy and development technology.
Overview of sustainable tourism The 1987 Brundtland Commission Report (WCED 1987) has been generally acknowledged as having introduced the concept of sustainability. It defined sustainability as “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. ” Taking off from the basic principles of the Brundtland report, the global tourism industry has adopted the following definition of sustainable tourism development: Sustainable tourism development meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunity for the future. It is envisaged as leading to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social, and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity, and life support systems” (WTTC 1998). In addition, the World Travel and Tourism Council identified nine priority areas for action by national tourism organizations and industry-based associations or organizations.
These included 1) assessing the capacity to bring about sustainable tourism planning for sustainable tourism development, 2) planning for sustainable tourism development, and 3) measuring progress in achieving sustainable development. Chapter 1: Alampay 3 In the Philippines, the blueprint for tourism development has been the Philippine Tourism Master Plan (TMP). Begun in 1989 and completed in 1991, the TMP was developed when “sustainable development” was not yet a buzzword.
Thus, nowhere in the TMP can one find an explicit reference to a policy or philosophy based on “sustainable tourism development. ” Yet, in its assessment of the Philippine tourism industry, the TMP did note the potential negative economic, social, and environmental impacts of tourism development: “Whilst the long-term costs of these impacts cannot be determined precisely, there is a need to ensure that these costs are not exacerbated by new tourism development and that future planning aims to reduce these costs” (DOT 1991).
In a 1993 presentation to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), then Department of Tourism (DOT) secretary Narzalina Lim pointed out specific elements of the Plan which reflected the government’s commitment to sustainability. First, the TMP’s projections for visitor arrivals had been deliberately understated based on the country’s economic and population growth, as well as the foreseeable infrastructure capabilities of the country. Second, the cluster development strategy had been designed to promote regional equity by distributing tourism flows to the Visayas and Mindanao.
Finally, the TMP had acknowledged the limits to the future carrying capacity of the Philippine tourism industry imposed by its economy, natural environment, and a social fabric “strained by overpopulation, extensive poverty, large regional income imbalances, and lack of livelihood opportunities outside the major urban centers” (DOT 1991). A research framework for sustainable tourism development The basic elements of sustainable development—ecological sustainability, economic sustainability, and equity—form the core elements of the research framework.
These represent the primary objectives of any sustainable tourism initiative. Thus, they can also be viewed as the key variables for assessing the success or failure of sustainable tourism projects. Applying the concept of sustainability to the study of tourism development requires that these elements are related to the tourism system in place at a destination. Typically, the stakeholders in a destination can be classified into three major groups with their respective interests: national government, the local destination, and the tourism sector or industry perating in the destination. The national government’s interests in tourism are usually represented by the DOT and its attached agencies. However, as the concept of sustainable tourism development matures, the other resource-oriented departments, such as Agriculture, Agrarian Reform, as well as Environment and Natural Resources, increase their involvements in tourism development at the national policy level. 4 Sustainable Tourism Locally, there are numerous stakeholders.
These include the local government units (LGUs), including the barangays, as well as the local members of civil society, usually represented by nongoverment organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations. Managers of local tourism resources such as parks, museums, and historic sites would also be involved in tourism development at the local level. Finally, the tourism industry grouping covers the private business establishments engaged in the delivery of accommodation, transportation, and other services needed by the tourist—in transit to and from the destination, as well as during their stay.
All three stakeholder groups have an interest in the development of an area as a tourist destination. This implies that some form of cooperation or partnership between the three groups is necessary for a coordinated and sustainable form of tourism development. Combining the three stakeholder groups with the core elements of sustainability gives one a conceptual picture of sustainable tourism development’s scope. The various components of the model suggest different points of focus for prospective researchers. Figure 1. Proposed conceptual framework for research on sustainable tourism development in the Philippines
Chapter 1: Alampay 5 In summary, Figure 1 depicts the interactions and relationships of the three major stakeholder groups—national government, the local community, and the tourism industry—in their quest to develop a sustainable tourist destination. The model may also be extended to individual tourism businesses that aim to operate in a similarly sustainable manner. The three stakeholder groups, acting independently or in concert, will thus determine the degree to which the goals of sustainable development can be achieved through tourism.
In the process, each group will likely pursue varying objectives related to the core elements of sustainable development. A community, for example, may focus more on the ecological sustainability and equity dimensions of tourism development whereas another may be more inclined to pursue a business-oriented tourism industry by giving emphasis on its economic sustainability. While the framework has generally been applied to local tourism, a study of sustainable tourism development should not ignore the role of national agencies and industry-wide agencies in creating an environment conducive to sustainable destination development.
National development policies and priorities can either facilitate or inhibit a destination’s ability to achieve sustainability, depending on how well that particular locality fits in with the national development agenda. Similarly, strong and active trade associations can strongly influence the degree of adoption by local businesses and communities of the principles of sustainable tourism development through their advocacy, promotion, and self-regulation of responsible tourism practices. This was the overall conceptual framework employed by the PASCNsponsored Research Team on Sustainable Tourism Development in the Philippines.
Five independent studies were undertaken under the aegis of this project. Each examined particular issues of sustainable tourism from the perspective of at least one major stakeholder group: national government, local destination, or tourism industry. As the studies differed in their stakeholder focus, so did the levels at which they viewed the issue of sustainability. With varying perspectives, research focus changed from relatively abstract policies at the national level to more concrete programs and practices at the community or industry level.
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. 6 Sustainable Tourism
It is thus not surprising to encounter many similarities between the two countries in terms of their respective national tourism organizations’ (NTO) policy priorities. For example, both countries have taken explicit steps toward the pursuit of sustainable tourism development. Both have national ecotourism strategies. Thailand developed a National Sustainable Tourism Plan in 2001, which now serves as a guide to the regional provinces and cities. The Philippines’ Tourism Master Plan is similarly committed to pursuing sustainable development.
Both countries emphasize domestic tourism development markets in addition to their traditional focus on international tourist arrivals. Rodolfo notes, however, that in the case of the Philippines, certain national policies may threaten the industry’s economic sustainability by preventing the expansion of business activities in the country. Examples of these include the limited access between the major East Asian markets and the Philippines. Regulation has also raised the international carriers’ costs of doing business in the Philippines, which are considered higher than those of other Asian destinations.
Thailand, for its part, has shifted its priorities from simply trying to boost the volume of international traffic to a more selective approach that encourages more long-staying, high-spending tourists to come. This shift has increased the yield from tourism and protects the country’s environmental and cultural heritage. Where the environmental aspects of tourism development are concerned, the Thai national government appears to recognize the importance of protecting and enhancing the tourism product, particularly the natural and cultural resources on which the industry is built.
At the NTO level, there are official affirmations of the commitment to environmental sustainability. Comparing four ASEAN NTOs (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines), Cruz (2003) notes that all four governments are signatories to Agenda 21. All four NTOs claim to have a sustainable development framework in place as well as national planning documents that expressly state this framework for development. The NTOs’ involvement in monitoring the impact of tourism development appears to be limited.
Only the Philippines’ Department of Tourism and Malaysia’s Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism use indicators to monitor the impact of tourism. Yet, in Malaysia, there are no government bodies tasked to monitor tourism. In the case of the Philippines, the indicators function as benchmarks and decision-making tools prior to certification or endorsement of particular tourism development projects. No system appears to be in place for the NTO to track these projects’ impact once they are underway.
This is the case perhaps in the Philippines because the DOT sees its primary function (as is the case with the other ASEAN NTOs) as continuing Chapter 1: Alampay 7 to revolve around policy setting and tourism promotion. Thus, the function of monitoring tourism impact generally falls under the jurisdiction of a dedicated environmental office, that is, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). In Singapore and Thailand, the limitations of the NTOs regarding environmental monitoring have been mitigated by greater private sector and community involvement.
Cruz specifically notes Singapore’s heavy dependence on NGO support for its sustainable tourism effort. In particular, he cites the Singapore Environmental Council for maintaining a Green Volunteer Network as well as managing the Green Label certification system for businesses. The Singapore Hotel Association has also demonstrated the industry’s commitment to the environment through its environmental training and awareness-raising programs. Similarly, the Thai Hotels Association has cast its lot with environmentalism by administering the Green Leaf Program in Thailand.
To date, the Philippine tourism industry does not offer anything similar. The national government remains the primary certifying body for ecotourism projects. More accurately, the DOT commonly reviews tourism projects before endorsing them to the Board of Investments. The DENR provides another layer of certification through its system of Environmental Clearance Certificates and Environmental Impact Assessments (Alampay and Libosada 2003). However, there is no private-led, self-regulating organization responsible for the certification process for sustainable tourism or ecotourism projects and programs.
Unlike those of other countries, the Philippine tourism industry’s private ecotourism sector is neither strong nor interested enough to spearhead the certification process. Much like the NTO, the national tourism trade associations appear to be limiting their scope of operations to marketing, destination identification, and tourism awareness building. Thus, Alampay and Libosada (2003) argue that there may be an opportunity for environmentally-oriented NGOs and community organizations to fill the vacuum and to take the lead in establishing a sustainable tourism certification process in the Philippines.
However, even in such a setup, it will still be necessary for commercial tourism organizations as a sector to guide the group with respect to the market-related or economic aspects of the tourism certification process. That is, the accreditation should not be limited to environmental considerations but should also recognize that the economic viability of the operation also directly affects the long-term ecological concerns of the project. Although NTOs generally operate from a macro-perspective, they still exert a significant degree of influence on local development.
One way would be through the direct ownership or management of tourist facilities and services. Rodolfo notes, for example, that the Philippine NTO exhibits a higher degree of influence and involvement in the industry, as evidenced by 8 Sustainable Tourism the ownership of tourism facilities. Many of these, however, were acquired or established in the1970s and 1980s when the DOT also ascribed importance to their role as pioneer developers and investors in new and emerging tourist destinations.
However, the Philippines (just like Thailand) seems to be moving away from a direct ownership model toward a facilitating or mentoring relationship with local communities. Both the Philippines and Thailand have made moves to strengthen their tourist products at the local level by devolving many tourism development functions to the local communities. In addition, the NTOs have provided the technical support that many local communities and businesses may not have regular access to. The Tourism Authority of Thailand, for example, provides brochures on sustainable tourism to tour operators and tourists (Cruz 2003).
Sustainable tourism development is more generally understood to apply to tourism activity at the destination or community level, as well as at the enterprise or business level. Thus, the studies that focused on community or place-specific issues magnify better the interplay between economic, equity, and environmental concerns of sustainable development. Tourism is primarily a business. As the WTO states: “It is . . . important to ensure that ecotourism is a good, economically sustainable business and that profits are generated from it.
If there are no prospects for profit, then private entrepreneurs will not invest and there will be no benefits to distribute for local communities or conservation purposes” (Vereczi 2002). Operators of many destinations are primarily motivated by the expected economic returns from tourism. It is therefore not surprising that the economic effects of tourism tend to be noticed by residents and researchers alike. In Sagada, for example, Dulnuan (2003) notes that the perceived main benefit of tourism is the income it generates.
Similarly, in Bais, Evacitas (2004) observes that the respondents scored high on the items related to perceptions about the economic benefits of tourism, specifically whale watching. She also reports that the income of households employed by or engaged in the tourism industry was relatively higher than those outside the industry. Because of this, tourism households in Bais spent significantly less on basic necessities while spending more for recreational services than did households primarily engaged in fishing and nontourism-related businesses.
Bersales’s (2003) comparison of two resort communities—Panglao in Bohol Province, and Mactan in Cebu—indicates that community residents tend to identify income generation as the key benefit of tourism. Direct employment was the most commonly-cited economic benefit. The communities also appeared to acknowledge the multiplier effect of tourism through opportunities to sell goods or offer services (e. g. , “hupo-hupo” tour guides) to Chapter 1: Alampay 9 the resorts or to the tourists themselves. Finally, tourism was broadly credited with improving infrastructure in both sites.
However, both Dulnuan and Evacitas note that the host communities perceived that these economic benefits tend to reach a limited portion of the population. Dulnuan (2003), for example, states that in Sagada, the “economic gains from tourism are not felt by all. ” Furthermore, not all economic effects were positive. Residents also perceive tourism as encouraging local businesses to engage in price-fixing behavior. Evacitas reports that the residents of Bais scored high in terms of their perceptions of the economic benefits of whale watching.
She concludes that they may have seen more economic gains from conserving the dolphins than hunting them. Yet, she also writes: “When asked about notable improvements in the barangay since the establishment of the whale-watching industry, most of the fisherfolk answered that their economic conditions have not improved over the years, not even with the coming in of the whale watching ecotourism. The same view was shared by the nonfishing/nontourism related households. Neither have the different social services and facilities of the barangay improved after the establishment of whale watching tourism. In contrast, Bersales’s study involved communities where tourism was a dominant economic activity. The majority of his respondents belonged to households where at least one member was directly employed in tourism. However, significant proportions of respondents from both study sites observed that the tourism jobs for locals tended to be low-paying. Nevertheless, tourism jobs are still seen as more lucrative than the traditional agricultural and fishing activities in Bohol and Cebu. As a result, young residents prefer resort jobs to farming and fishing.
Is tourism a truly clean, nonexhaustive industry? In large part, much of the argument for tourism as a vehicle for sustainable development has been built on the claim that tourism, properly and responsibly implemented, results in minimal damage to the natural resources of an area. At the very least, tourism (or so its advocates claim) produces much less negative impact than other traditional resource-based activities like fishing, forestry, and mining. The difficulty in validating this claim is that the damage to the natural environment from tourism is often subtle and takes years to be noticed.
For example, Evacitas found that whale watching has not significantly influenced species diversity and population size of the cetaceans in Tanon Strait in the three years since the activity was introduced to the area. Nor does it appear that fisheries in nearby areas have been affected by ecotourism. However, she also warned of potential long-term effects, such as changes in mortality and birth rate that might be expected given the experiences of 10 Sustainable Tourism similar destinations in Australia and other countries.
Related to this, Evacitas found that the residents scored relatively low in their awareness of the impact of human activities on cetaceans. The level of awareness was significantly correlated with the respondents’ level of education. This suggests that environmental education must be an important part of any long-term development strategy to address the potential long-term impact of tourism on the environment. Similarly, the tourism programs in Cebu’s Olango Island and Palawan’s Ulugan Bay are still in the very early stages of their development cycles.
In terms of tourist arrivals in each site, they are still fairly low and manageable. Furthermore, tourist activity has not been around long enough to produce the cumulative effects that warrant attention. In the cases of Olango, Ulugan, and Bais, the tourism planner’s environmental agenda seemed to be oriented toward providing residents with ecology-friendly livelihood alternatives. Through ecotourism, the planners hoped to engender more positive attitudes toward conservation within the local community.
Dulnuan reports that this may already observed in Sagada to the extent that tourism has made the community more environmentally aware. However, she also writes that Sagada now has problems related to the destruction of stalactites and stalagmites, as well as vandalism of caves and burial grounds. To a large extent these problems could be attributed to visitors who do not seem to care about the environment. Because it has hosted tourists much longer than Bais, Olango, and Ulugan Bay have, Sagada already faces some of the long-term environmental problems that are still nonexistent in the other destinations.
These include the accumulation of trash in the community, conflicts arising from the depletion of the local water supply, and increased levels of noise. The benefits of responsible tourism are not limited to minimizing the negative effects of human activity on the environment, advocates aver. They say, ecotourism, if properly implemented, can enhance the environmental quality of a place and can even reverse the deterioration brought on by humans. Evidence, however, of tourism as an agent for ecological rejuvenation (not just conservation) is still very limited.
This is seen, for example, in the case studies of places like the Anilao area in Batangas as well as Apo Reef and Danjugan Island in the Negros region, which have had relative success. This is on account of the fact that research, such as that of Dulnuan and Evacitas, has focused largely on improvements in local attitudes toward conservation rather than on concrete changes or improvements to the quality and quantity of the natural resources. It is interesting to note that most of the issues involving many cases of sustainable tourism development in the Philippines revolve around economic-environmental tradeoffs.
Such a dilemma lies at the core of the ecotourism classification framework proposed by Alampay and Libosada Chapter 1: Alampay 11 (2003). They propose to categorize different ecotourism projects in the country in terms of how the natural or cultural tourism resources are to be used. How intensively these resources are to be used will depend on whether the host community or proponent prioritizes environmental goals over economic objectives, or vice versa.
However, since the two authors define tourism development in terms of the ecology-economics balance, the social equity dimension of sustainable tourism would seem to be an afterthought. One criticism of their working draft pointed this out—that the framework was relatively silent on the issue of who benefits from tourism development. The authors responded by saying that the classification framework was based on the assumption that the basic principles of sustainability, including social equity, would underlie any program purported to be ecotourism.
Alampay and Libosada’s response notwithstanding, the question remains valid: who benefits from tourism development? More to the point, do communities, developers, and tourism officials assume that the social benefits of tourism will come as a result of responsible management of the economic and environmental aspects of tourism? This seems to be the implied position of sustainable tourism advocates. The value of this stance takes on greater significance in light of the litany of social issues and concerns that Dulnuan cites from residents related to the presence of tourism in Sagada.
These range from the potential negative effects on the local youth of their exposure to the values and behaviors of tourists to the commercialization or, worse, desecration of local ceremonies, rituals, and sacred places. The same position would also appear valid when one considers that 10 percent of the income from whale watching in Bais goes to the barangay. However, as Evacitas notes, tangible improvements to the social service infrastructure of Bais have yet to be seen. The barangay road is still in poor condition while medicine and water supply remains inadequate.
The only significant additions to the barangay following the implementation of ecotourism are the tourism facilities themselves, says Evacitas. Bersales’s study also highlights several social effects of resort development on community life. In both sites, access to beach front areas—valued by both resorts and fisherfolk—was a key concern voiced by community representatives. As with Sagada, local residents have also decried the negative influences of tourists on community values, particularly those of the local youth.
Finally, Bersales recounts the stress on family and neighbor relations that can result from sudden prosperity, increased land valuation, and new sources of income. All of these serve to provide a cautionary tale for other communities seeking to harness their economies to the sustainable tourism cart. Human resources as exhaustible tourism industry resources Most discussions of sustainable tourism focus on the responsible use of natural or cultural resources. Fragile ecosystems as well as sensitive cultural trea- 12 Sustainable Tourism ures are viewed as tourism industry raw materials that must be properly managed to ensure their viability for future generations. There may be danger, however, for planners and researchers to lose sight of the fact that tourism is a service industry. As such, the tourism industry depends on the quality of its human resources as much as its natural and cultural assets. As Alampay and Libosada (2003) note, the educational or interpretation component of the visitor experience is a vital element of ecotourism. In many cases, relevant information must be delivered by local guides to tourists.
Thus, how well the guides can get the message across will determine in large part the tourist’s overall perception of the experience. Flores (1999) recounts how the Coastal Resources Management Program (CRMP) team involved in the Olango Island project recognized the importance of human resources in interpreting the area’s natural and cultural resources: “In Olango, an articulate naturalist guide who did biological work on the birdlife and mangroves in the sanctuary was hired by the community to do the natural interpretation.
Interpretation of village culture, however, was performed by the community…” As further proof of the vital role of human resources in ecotourism, the CRMP team involved in the Olango project had to prepare the community to take on management responsibilities for the project. This was not an easy task, as only two members of the community had gone beyond the third grade of formal education. Ultimately, these same people were prepared to take on responsibilities that included accounting, web page maintenance, budgeting, and marketing.
From the perspective of the tourism industry as a whole, there is also a need to ensure the consistent supply of well-trained and well-qualified tourism workers. Solis (2003) states that the tourism industry is characterized by distinct peaks and seasons. Thus, tourism companies, specifically hotels, adjust their manpower size according to the demands of the season. It appears that hotel companies view their human resources in two different ways. First, human resources are cost elements that need to be managed to ensure the financial stability and economic viability of the enterprise.
Second, human resources represent the core ingredient of the company’s product (service), and thus must be maintained or improved to ensure the quality (and subsequent marketability) of the service. Solis’s framework views the sustainability of the tourism enterprise primarily in terms of economic viability. When the situation entails recognizing human resources as cost elements, companies employ cost reduction programs and labor flexibility measures to reduce operational costs. When human resources are viewed as defining inputs to the company’s product, companies focus on improving the efficiency and quality of worker performance
Chapter 1: Alampay 13 to achieve competitive advantage. However, during slack times, hotels are more likely to resort to cost reduction and labor flexibility measures than on service improvement measures. Many companies thus choose to reduce their complement of regular employees and use any combination of temporary and transient employees to fill in any emerging gaps. One of the problems with this approach is that such arrangements, if continued on a prolonged basis, may adversely affect the ability of the company to sustain a consistently high level of service.
As Solis found, the establishments themselves perceived a significant difference in the competence of regular versus nonregular workers. Continued dependence on nonregular workers could adversely affect the sustainability of companies’ service quality. Rapid and regular turnover of tourism workers will eventually affect the type and quality of training that companies may implement. Often, companies must attempt to train their nonregular staff on the fly because they simply cannot afford to pull them out when the peak season is at hand.
Solis also found that tourism establishments appear to be “flexible” in their adherence to the legal guidelines on the hiring of nonregular employees. This brings to the fore the question of whether the current legal framework supports or hinders the sustainable use of such resources that are deemed as important as natural and cultural assets in building a tourism industry. It may also be that the industry is not aware of opportunities for growth within the legal framework, as many companies see the legal regulations more as constraining elements rather than external factors that may also be sources of strategic opportunities.
Stakeholder roles in sustainable tourism development The DOT’s vision of Philippine tourism by the year 2010 is one that will establish the country as a “premier Asian destination. ” It will be an industry that creates jobs and generates revenues. The DOT targets 5 million tourist arrivals by 2010. Achieving this target is expected to generate at least 8. 3 million jobs and $17 billion in revenue. Part of the DOT’s vision is an industry that will on “a sustainable development path that protects our land, our culture, and our people through the development of tourism” (Gordon 2001). The DOT recognizes the enormity of the challenge.
Hence its call for cooperation between and the government (including the LGUs) and the private sector in achieving its goal. It appears that the DOT sees the role of the national tourism organization as facilitating a climate conducive to the tourism business. During former tourism secretary Richard Gordon’s administration, he identified the socalled three A’s of Philippine tourism: attraction, assurance, and accountability. The DOT, the LGUs, and the private sector, he said, should pursue these three As together. However, DOT’s strategic plans—publicly unveiled at a series of Travel Industry Congresses (TRICON)—seem to focus only on 4 Sustainable Tourism two A’s: attraction and assurance. Based on DOT’s strategic plans for marketing, planning and development, and tourism standards, it appeared that much of the department’s energy and resources would revolve around building awareness and attracting key market segments. It would also concentrate on policy making and facilitating access infrastructure and support services (e. g. , highways, airports, police and sanitation services) for priority destinations. All of these were intended to assure visitors as well as investors that the country was peaceful and orderly and that they could expect to be provided quality service.
In publicly discussing its marketing priorities, the DOT’s emphasis on immediate economic returns is clear and unequivocal. Describing them as “high-value segments that can easily be served,” the DOT intends to give the highest priority to the following market segments: a) short-haul sightseeing segment; b) short-haul beach tourists; and c) the domestic tourist market. Where markets classified as low-priority are concerned, DOT recognizes that segments like short-haul ecotourism, short-haul recreation, and long-haul backpacker are relatively small.
These segments—on their face, more compatible with the idea of low-impact, sustainable tourism—are seen to have lower economic potential simply from the criterion of size. Although the country has the attractions and facilities for these market segments, their relatively smaller sizes dictate a lower priority for them. Another mediumpriority market is the long-haul mass comfort segment. The DOT sees this traditional, mainstream tourist segment as having high potential. Unfortunately, the country may not have the facilities in place yet to adequately serve these markets.
DOT’s policymaking and planning functions will include taking the lead in establishing a tourist environment conducive to the operation of a vibrant tourism industry. These include pursuing initiatives that remove the restrictions on tourist organizations and individual travelers alike. Rodolfo (2002) recommends several infrastructure and access-related areas for DOT to consider. However, some of his concerns—for example, “removing restrictions in capacity through bilateral ‘open skies’ and liberal charter arrangements”—are not exclusively within DOT’s domain.
Resolution of this particular issue requires the inputs of agencies like the Departments of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Transportation and Communication, as well as various committees in both houses of Congress. Similarly, Rodolfo’s recommendations regarding the relaxation of certain visa requirements and the provision of incentives for upgrading tourist facilities will ultimately be addressed by the DFA and the Department of Finance, respectively. All this, highlights the character of the Philippine NTO as being a coordinating body more than an actual implementor of initiatives that will affect the industry in a major way.
Chapter 1: Alampay 15 According to Cruz (2003), the DOT is not alone in this respect. In fact, it appears that this is the norm internationally. NTOs worldwide, in their bid to maximize the use of their limited budgets, necessarily focus on a limited portfolio of functions. Often, however, this portfolio does not include actual development and management of tourist facilities, attractions, or services. Rather, it seems limited to identifying priority destinations to rationalize the allocation of marketing, product development, and infrastructure budgets.
The DOT defines its role in destination development more as a coordinator rather than actual implementor. For example, in its National Ecotourism Strategy (NES), the department identified 31 sites as priority ecotourism destinations. In addition, the draft plan highlighted 55 emerging and potential ecotourism sites (Draft National Ecotourism Strategy, April 2002). However, the short- and medium-term action plans talk about assistance programs for operators, promotion and advocacy work, as well as the establishment of accreditation and classification systems.
It conspicuously avoids mention of the national government being directly involved in building and operating destinations. As the national government continues to delineate what it can and cannot do in its quest for a truly sustainable tourism industry, it will be even more necessary to strengthen the public-private partnerships throughout the industry. The experience of successful tourist destinations like Thailand should spur the industry in this direction.
Rodolfo (2003) points out that Thailand’s success in rejuvenating Pattaya and in instituting environmental protection measures would not have been possible had these partnerships not been forged. In a similar fashion, both the public and private sectors should build and sustain partnerships between them. Given the desire of the national government to focus on a few specific functions, it will be necessary for private industry, local governments, and community groups to work in an integrated manner so that all concerns relating to sustainable tourism are properly addressed.
Among the key areas requiring such partnerships are the following: Planning and development of tourist destinations involving sensitive natural and cultural resources; Identification and provision of readily available sources of financing for tourism projects, particularly those involving community-based projects; Training and education of current and prospective tourism industry workers; Sustainable tourism advocacy campaigns on the national and local levels; and Establishment of a continuous and credible system of evaluation, monitoring and accreditation of tourism organizations, services and destinations. 6 Sustainable Tourism Local communities, LGUs, and entrepreneurs will have to take the lead in ensuring that destinations are developed in a sustainable manner. Our initial findings suggest that this role is best assumed by local communities or private developers. In most cases, the development process is locally initiated, coming as it does from the community (either independently or with assistance from an NGO or private commercial group). The examples of Olango Island, Boracay, El Nido, Sagada, and similar destinations illustrate this point most clearly.
In these cases, the local folk stand to benefit the most from a sustainable use of local resources. However, once the destination and its tourism potentials have been properly identified, the local capability to sustain tourism activity must be enhanced. Do local communities have the financial wherewithal to build and maintain the necessary infrastructure that prospective visitors need? Some may argue that the promise of ecotourism is that communities can launch an industry with minimal tourist comforts.
That may be true, but even the most basic infrastructure—both for visitor convenience as well as for resource protection— may require some financial outlay that some rural communities may not afford. How to source funding for such projects may not be easy. Postings on a recent Internet conference on financing sustainable tourism development seemed to indicate a lack of commercial financing options for such projects. Most of the conference participants’ own projects were likely to be funded either by state governments, foreign aid groups or national and international NGO consortia.
In most cases, funding for a tourism project has been justified by the conservation interests of the sponsors. However, banks and other commercial lending institutions have not been as quick to enter the sustainable tourism development field because few projects have been packaged as viable investment vehicles. This is where communities must forge strong partnerships with private tourism groups. When donor fatigue comes into play, or when national government priorities dictate that specific destinations get priority over others, the argument for financing a sustainable tourism project will have to be made on economic grounds.
Private partners will play a crucial role in bringing in the needed funds, especially when the local proponents do not have the expertise or experience in operating tourist enterprises. In addition to building up the financial capabilities of their respective destinations, local communities and tourism organizations will need to join hands in upgrading the human resources of their local tourism industry. At the local level, private investors may be encouraged to put up training institutions or to run training courses for prospective tourism employees.
These courses should not be limited to basic tourism and hospitality skills. If the community is truly committed to a sustainable form of tourism development, it will need a complement of environmental workers who will ensure that use of tourism resources is kept at a manageable level. Chapter 1: Alampay 17 At the national level, the government—primarily DOT, the Technical Educational Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the Commission on Higher Education—needs to link up with national tourism trade associations to establish training standards for the industry.
Given the fluidity of labor supply and demand in the Philippine tourism industry, tourism organizations must get some assurance about the quality of training received by prospective job applicants, whether they be based in Metro Manila or elsewhere. However, the human resource needs of tourism organizations will vary depending on how developed their respective communities are as tourist destinations. Furthermore, the needs of the industry as a whole will evolve as the tourism products evolve themselves. Unfortunately, national government agencies may not have the capability to respond quickly to these evolving needs.
For example, TESDA’s skills training standards were designed in accordance with a career framework patterned after the European hospitality model that is built around areas of specialization, standard procedures, apprenticeships, and defined career ladders. What if the industry needs generalists rather than specialists? What if specific hotels have their own procedures for performing particular tasks? Although the accreditation of tourism training institutions is now a function of the national government, neither DOT nor other government agencies can reasonably be expected to stay ahead of the market.
Over the long term, the private sector will need to shoulder more of the burden of standard development and accreditation. The private sector’s role in establishing quality standards for the industry should not be confined to training and education. Eventually, it should also take a lead role in developing standards for compliance with best practices in sustainable tourism development as well as for varying levels of service quality from tourist businesses.
Just as the national government is beginning to relinquish or devolve some of its functions to the local government, so, too, must it devolve other functions to the tourism industry. In the process, there must be a corresponding initiative from the industry to take on these new and additional functions. Is not the devolution of the accreditation function to the LGUs sufficient? If the concern is simply to ensure the quality of the product at the local level, then oversight by the local government may be enough. However, accreditation also guides the markets in their decisionmaking process.
As such there should be a national standard that applies to all localities so that individual and industrial consumers can compare tourist facilities and services. On the other hand, the accreditation system for the destinations, attractions, and facilities to be included in DOT’s marketing portfolio should ensure that these meet the minimum internationally accepted tourism standards. 18 Sustainable Tourism For sustainable tourism projects, an internationally accepted standard is expected to be in place within a year or two as an offshoot of the World Ecotourism Summit in Quebec from May 16 to 22, 2002.
In the meantime, programs like Green Globe and Green Leaf, as well as documents like the Mohonk Agreement (Honey and Rome 2001) and the Quebec Declaration on Ecotourism should give one enough clues as to what this international standard will look like in its final form. Still another pressing need of the tourism industry is regular and reliable information. Hard data borne of research are needed if the industry truly recognizes that monitoring, evaluation, and proper certification or accreditation schemes are essential to sustainable tourism development.
As Cruz notes, whatever research data are collected by DOT on sustainable tourism projects tend to be pre-launch or benchmarking ones. Longitudinal tracking of the im

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