IMPROVING OCEAN TOURISM The Asian Development Bank has proposed many policies aimed at improving the ocean tourism industry in the Philippines. PHOTO BY RUY A. MARTINEZ
The Asian Development Bank (AfDB) has identified a number of policy proposals that can help the Philippines improve their ocean tourism industry.
“As a component of the blue economy, ocean tourism is an important contributor to the growth and development of the Philippines,” according to the article titled “Developing the Philippine Blue Economy: Opportunities and Challenges in the Tourism Sector oceanic ”written by Maria Angela Zafra published by ADB this Wednesday.
As an archipelagic nation, tourism operations in coastal and offshore areas, she noted, contribute to the incomes of cities and municipalities, job creation and skills development of local populations, as well as with commercial potential. These can lead to improvements in the quality of life of the community.
Despite the many policies in place to protect tourism and marine ecosystems, Zafra continued, many tourist areas, especially beaches, are experiencing uncontrolled expansion.
According to her, research on the ecology of ocean tourism in the Philippines and a case study of El Nido Resorts have led to the formulation of various policy proposals.
To determine the carrying capacity for tourism, an analysis of the ecosystems in a place with considerable natural resource assets is first required. When planning tourism development, this would help tourism planners to regulate the number of tourists and not exceed carrying capacity.
Multiple stakeholders, Zafra added, must be involved throughout the tourism development chain, from idea to master plan, including monitoring and evaluation. The co-creation of tourism development routes is essential for innovation and inclusion in the industry.
“It is also necessary to assess infrastructure needs before creating a tourism development plan for a destination. Funding mechanisms and public-private partnerships could be the norm in tourist business areas,” he said. -she adds.
According to the author, integrating payment for ecosystem services into tourism products is a financing strategy that ensures that individuals who work for environmental protection also benefit financially. National parks and other community tourism destinations currently levy an environmental tax and / or admission fees.
She also said that limiting the number of tourists per day to each site or attraction based on carrying capacity and infrastructure estimates can help address the capacity problem. The local government can limit the capacity of public attractions by requiring reservations with the local tourist office, which can be made on behalf of guests by tour operators or accommodation companies.
Zafra went on to say that the private sector is responding to changing restrictions and most tourism businesses will change their operations if government rules require them to.
She further said that local communities have a key role to play in citizen-led enforcement, which can remedy poor enforcement of laws and policies. Civil society organizations and community members can form volunteer groups to monitor any violation of existing tourism and environmental ordinances and legislation.
“Further research may develop the business case for sustainability in ocean tourism businesses to understand the different modalities of success in terms of corporate financial sustainability, environmental protection, and mitigation or mitigation. adaptation to climate change, ”Zafra concluded.