Responsible Engagement with Philippine Nature An EcoTourism Perspective

Sustainability practices are becoming more prevalent in the Philippines, with an increasing number of local communities and tour operators adopting eco-friendly measures such as community-based tourism, waste reduction strategies, and educating tourists on sustainability practices. How much is the terminal fee in NAIA? Abun and Racoma (2017) conducted research into people’s environmental attitudes and behaviors in Ilocos Sur, Philippines. They discovered that Catholic school employees largely believe nature exists for human use only and is only worthy of preservation when it can benefit humans directly.

Local Community Participation

Ecotourism projects depend on local community participation and support to be successful. It is vital that local people understand and appreciate the advantages of sustainable tourism development, especially its economic benefits. Therefore, local people must participate in all phases of tourism planning, development and implementation including education of tourism workers as well as environmental conservation and sustainability initiatives.

Local communities play a pivotal role in protecting their natural environments, and must play an active role in encouraging responsible engagement with Philippine nature. This requires raising awareness on environmental threats while offering incentives to adopt greener practices; additionally, improvement of education, healthcare services and addressing socio-economic issues must also take place.

These challenges were made more pressing by the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant rise in economic costs to local communities caused by revaluations of fishing licenses and increased taxes on fishery products, forcing nine out of ten households involved in artisanal fisheries into poverty due to declining resources and increased household needs.

Though faced with these obstacles, the Philippines remains among the fastest urbanizing countries worldwide. Therefore, its natural heritage and ecosystems must be safeguarded to remain viable – this can be accomplished by building local capacities for sustainable natural resource governance, curbing environmental crimes, unsustainable practices, as well as encouraging inclusive green growth initiatives.

However, local community participation remains difficult, possibly because they feel they won’t gain from tourism development projects. Therefore, more research needs to be conducted to uncover its causes and devise solutions.

Awareness about environmental issues remains another obstacle. Many individuals remain ignorant to the consequences of their actions on the environment and so fail to take appropriate measures. One way of combatting this challenge is educating individuals on the value of ecotourism as well as introducing them to eco-friendly activities when traveling. Furthermore, buying locally made products will stimulate local economies while giving back to communities.

Environment Protection

Environmental protection in a tropical country such as the Philippines is critical to its citizens and visitors’ wellbeing. Millions of Filipinos rely on agriculture, forestry and fisheries for sustenance, yet natural disasters, poor management and law enforcement breaches pose threats to these precious natural resources. Furthermore, water and air pollution levels far surpass international accepted standards; greenhouse gas emissions due to land conversion and mismanaged waste increase each year while climate change complicates an already difficult management situation (PSA, 2022).

Though more Filipinos are becoming aware of the significance of sustainable development, their awareness does not always translate to actions and policies that contribute to its attainment. This is particularly evident in rural communities where poverty remains an ongoing contextual concern that impacts individual and household well-being. Ecotourism offers host communities an opportunity to engage in activities that support nature preservation while earning income in turn.

Ecotourism not only brings economic advantages to local residents but it can also support environmental education and conservation by drawing tourists into sensitive habitats. This can aid the preservation of natural and cultural resources as well as foster a greater sense of community among the residents themselves – for instance, Honduran schoolchildren from Tegucigalpa regularly visit La Tigra cloud forest visitor center, funded in part through eco-tourist dollars, where they learn about its biodiversity.

Ecotourism can also bring significant changes to the legal framework surrounding environmental protection in the Philippines. Legal institutions and laws play a pivotal role in sustainable development; their institutions and laws influence individual behavior as well as corporate decisions on climate change. With high environmental consciousness in place in this nation, there may be opportunities for bold decisions and norm-challenging ponencias from Philippine courts concerning climate change cases.

Philippines ranks among the world’s most biodiverse regions, boasting an abundance of plant and animal species that flourish here. Furthermore, this island nation provides refuge to millions of indigenous people who rely heavily on natural resources and ecosystem services for survival – such as forests acting as carbon sinks and protection from climate-related disasters.

Social Responsibility

Sustainable tourism not only benefits the environment but it provides opportunities for social change and economic gain for locals. That is why many companies are prioritizing corporate social responsibility (CSR), or advocacy and efforts of businesses to help alleviate economic and sociocultural concerns of their local communities. CSR projects include road construction, educational scholarship for students, sports or cultural development programs, veterans’ services or senior services provision as well as environmental sustainability efforts, disaster recovery assistance as well as employee welfare.

Our survey results demonstrate that Filipinos understand the significance of sustainability in tourism and are making greener choices when selecting travel destinations. They support eco-friendly hospitality options such as small boutique hotels as well as using revenue generated from tourism to fund nature conservation projects or strengthen laws to safeguard natural sites.

But our research also shows there are still barriers to creating a fully sustainable tourism industry in the Philippines. Not all tourists understand the significance of sustainable travel; some still visit threatened natural sites; or travel in groups which creates noise pollution that damages the environment.

Promoting sustainable tourism is essential to its development in their nation, so locals must foster it by raising public awareness on what ecotourism entails and its differences from conventional tourism, providing training on responsible and ethical tourism practices, and offering education services on this matter.

Finally, government must play an active role in sustainable tourism by passing legislation and creating regulatory bodies to oversee it. This may involve enforcing environmental regulations, setting up monitoring and inspection systems and encouraging partnerships with private sectors in order to foster its development.

Sustainable tourism in the Philippines is key to maintaining its vibrant ecosystem and culture, so both government and private entities should leverage it for long-term prosperity and sustainability.

Economic Benefits

The Philippines is one of the world’s most biodiverse nations and its rich natural resources provide vital services for millions of people. Unfortunately, rapid economic development is placing pressure on these natural assets; mining and agriculture practices have compromised water supplies while air quality has fallen beyond generally accepted health standards, biodiversity has been lost as a result, greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase due to land conversion, unsustainable fishing practices and mismanaged plastic waste management practices.

Local communities can benefit greatly from tourism’s responsible engagement with Philippine nature, specifically eco-tourism activities. Ecotourism activities provide environmental education and alternative incomes to rural households while using local residents as consultants or directors ensures legitimacy and sustainability for community-based ecotourism ventures; maximizing local economic benefits also can reduce environmental risks.

Honduras’ La Tigra cloud forest region attracts tourists seeking to learn about its fragile ecology through ecotourism dollars. Visitors also play an economic benefit to local residents by creating employment in hospitality sectors like guides and accommodation services; but high-volume tourism could compromise sustainable use of nature; for instance, bright lights from beachfront hotels in Mexico can disorient female sea turtles trying to lay eggs thus inhibiting reproduction.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on coastal fishing communities in Aklan Province. Government quarantine measures and restrictions led to all tourism activities being suspended for extended periods, leading to decreased household incomes and worsened economic vulnerability of families towards food insecurity, evidenced by higher self-rated poverty/hunger levels (SRP+) reported quarterly by Social Weather Stations nationwide.