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Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum

Sustainable tourism through the preparation of a tourism master plan / Philippines

Posted By: Melissa Macasaet and Martin Felstead - responding to Bruce Potter
Date: Thursday, 30 November 2000, at 12:38 p.m.

In response to: 'Mass market versus up-scale tourism / St. Croix-U.S. Virgin Islands and Anguilla' (http://csiwisepractices.org/?read=253) (Bruce Potter)


With regard to the article on mass market versus up-scale tourism, there is a need for a tourism master plan to be developed, focused on the goals of the stakeholders. The experiences of the tourism industry in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands http://csiwisepractices.org/?read=253 tells us that the absence of such a plan will result in the loss of the tourism industry itself. Such a plan must include full community participation in all aspects of the tourism industry, as well as capacity building for youth and community leaders relating to resource management and environmental education. Learning from the experiences of tourist destinations that have had problems with sustainability will help in the development of community-based tourism activities.

The development of a tourism master plan provides a structural framework for development, management and monitoring with the aim of pre-empting problems, mitigating impacts and fostering/maintaining equitable relationships between the various stakeholders (all key components of sustainable resource management). It also provides for intersectoral cooperation to mutual benefit. If the goals of local stakeholders are incorporated into the planning, development, management and monitoring stages, then an effectively managed, supply-led system may evolve within which many of the problems exhibited by unplanned and unregulated demand-led tourism may be avoided. In terms of the wider management process a tourism master plan can be developed in the following way:

1) environmental audit: biophysical, socio-economic and cultural resource assessment,
2) stakeholder feedback through a 'Rolling programme' of stakeholder consultation,
3) structural framework for tourism master planning,
4) implementation and development,
5) management and monitoring: stakeholder representation and policy adjustment.

In points (1-5) above, it is the tourism master plan that represents the central element. By incorporating the data generated during steps 1 and 2, it seeks to balance the various stakeholder interests, generating a comprehensive framework for development, management and monitoring. However, in order to successfully follow the above approach it is also necessary to have in place a number of additional components:

- community support and commitment,
- political support and commitment e.g. policy,
- integration of planning frameworks at all levels,
- assembly of appropriate expertise/skill-base,
- access to necessary resources,
- financial support.

In conclusion, if the approach outlined above can be successfully adopted, then it may be possible for a destination/area to develop a quality tourism product without degrading the resource base upon which tourism, and other industries (e.g. fishing) ultimately depend. In this way, tourism may function as a platform for sustainable rural development and conservation through intersectoral cooperation for the mutual benefit of all.

Such an approach to tourism development is being developed at Ulugan Bay on the island of Palawan in the Philippines, and a summary of this pilot project may be found at http://www.unesco.org/csi/act/ulugan/summary_3.htm

Ms Melissa Macasaet,
City Office,

and Mr Martin L. Felstead,
Community-based Sustainable Tourism Consultant, UNESCO/UNDP Ulugan Bay Project,

Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines.


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