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Towards Sustainable Tourism Development in the Philippines and Other Asean Countries

Report introduction
National tourism organizations (NTOs) play a central role in tourism development in the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region. Such active intervention has been widely credited for the rapid development of the tourism industries in the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Over the last forty years, the growth of tourist arrivals and tourist receipts in these countries (with the exception of the Philippines) were among the highest in the world. By 2000, the four countries generated a total of nearly US$21 billion in receipts from 32 million arrivals (various sources).

However, poorly planned mass tourism in these countries has also led to environmental and cultural degradation. As a major force in the world economy with tremendous impacts on the environment and culture, it came as no surprise that the tourism sector became a target for reform in its approach to development. The new paradigm has come to be known as sustainable development. This paper looks at the ways by which NTOs in the Asean region operationalize the principles of sustainability.

The specific objectives of this paper are
• To identify the activities that NTOs in the four Asean countries do to effect sustainable development of their respective tourism industries;
To evaluate the sufficiency of these measures in attaining sustainable tourism development; and
• To suggest ways of improving current efforts in order to attain a more sustainable development of tourism.

This study is based on desk research of printed literature and research materials that are available online. An ocular visit to tourist sites in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore was done to augment the scant material on sustainable tourism development in these countries. Interviews of key experts in the countries were also carried out using a semi-structured questionnaire.

The NTOs surveyed for this study were
1. Department of Tourism (DOT) (Philippines)
2. Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism (MOCAT) (Malaysia)
3. Singapore Tourism Board (STB) (formerly Singapore Tourism Promotion Board)
4. Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) (The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has just been created in October 2002. – author)

The level of analysis was limited to that of the national tourism organizations in order to provide focus for the discussion. The study covered only the NTOs of the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, which may not be an accurate representation of the Asean region. Due to financial constraints, only a single visit to a few sites in Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand was made. Unforeseen official protocol in Malaysia also prevented the research assistant in obtaining more information about sustainable tourism practices in that country.

Download the full report Towards Sustainable Tourism Development in the Philippines and Other Asean Countries: An Examination of Programs and Practices of
National Tourism Organizations
. By Reil G. Cruz, University of the Philippines Diliman, Asian Institute of Tourism. 2003.

This article is quoted from the Tourism ROI Newsletter published on 2010-04.06.

This article is uploaded by Majbritt Thomsen, administrator on ‘Views On Tourism’.

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Posted in Asia, Best practice, Cooperation and network, Performance and management, Sustainability.


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