LGUs told to properly plan tourism initiatives to avoid ‘overtourism’

July 20,2023 - 10:52 PM

Photo of the participants of Day 1 of the Tourism Summit for story: LGUs told to properly plan tourism initiatives to avoid 'overtourism'

LOOK: Participants of Day 1 of the Tourism Summit. | Mariele Ocubillo, CTU Intern

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Tourism is not always the solution to poverty and the other problems of the country.

In fact, tourism, if not properly managed could add to the country’s problems, says Tourism Planning Consultant Chen Reyes-Mencias.

As she addressed participants of a “A Summit on Tourism” held in Cebu City on Thursday, July 20, Mencias said that for tourism to become sustainable, there is a need to ensure proper planning, regulation, monitoring and management.

Mencias, who is an expert in ecotourism enterprise development, said that travel and tourism are now “at a tipping point” due to “overtourism,”which is the massive increase in  the number of tourists that it negatively impacts local residents, visitors, and the surrounding environment of a tourism destination.

In the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report that she presented on the first day of the two-day summit, Mencias said that many of the tourism destinations in the country “are simply driven by market forces” which she referred to as “imperfect.”

And in the absence of proper planning, regulation, monitoring and management, tourism contributes to pollution or the presence of solid and liquid wastes, lack of safe drinking water and food insecurity.

Trash are left behind in tourism destinations, which contributes to pollution that destroys nature.

“It’s not about how rich you are, it’s not about whether you have a Ph.D., a master’s degree, a college degree. [Having a] responsible behavior is about ethics. It’s about principles.” Mencias said.

Mencias added that the restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic was beneficial to the country’s tourism industry because  “it gave us a time to pause and reflect.”

But sad to note that with the resumption of travels, Mencias said that she is again seeing the same old problems caused by unregulated tourism visits.

“It went back to the way it was before,” she added.

Everything that the tourists leave behind, was sure to create a “travel footprint.”

Wanting to help local governments better plan their tourism initiatives, Mencias said that she is currently doing a research to identify indicators that will help LGUs come up with their own tourism development capacity index.

“And hopefully next year, we will be able to launch this tool that we will hopefully introduce to the local governments for them to use, so they can see their industry, where it’s heading,” she added.

The two-day summit will resume on Friday, July 21, with discussions focused on “Shaping the Future.” Invited speakers will tackle the need for sustainability as a competitive advantage to stay on top of the tourism industry. | Mariele Ocubillo, CTU Intern


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TAGS: monitoring, pollution, sustainable, tourism, Tourism Summit

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