Last December 2018, the UP Cebu Central Visayas Studies Center was able to produce and submit to UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies (CIDS) a discussion paper entitled “Concerns, Challenges, and Opportunities in Sustainable Tourism Development in Central Visayas: Specific and Common Concerns in Cebu and Bohol”. The discussion paper contains presentation and discussion of facts, trends, updates, concerns, challenges, threats and opportunities in sustainable tourism development in Central Visayas, specifically in Cebu and Bohol. Most of the data were culled from a whole-day Round Table Discussion (RTD) with Key Players in Tourism from government agencies and a private organization and interested faculty members from the four Colleges of UP Cebu held last October 10, 2018 at the UP Cebu AVR 1.
The invited guests who were present during the RTD were: Ms. Maria Teresa Alambra, Assistant Regional Director of NEDA-7; Ms. Judilyn Quiachon, Senior Tourism Supervising Officer of DOT-7; Ms. Josephine Remolador-Cabarrus, Head of Bohol Tourism Office; Ms. Bernadette Esmero, DENR Representative; Ms. Hearty Rizarri, Cebu City Tourism Officer; and Architect Omar Maxwell Espina, member of the Board of Trustees, Arts Council of Cebu
The Faculty Members who participated in the RTD were the following: Dr. Tiffany Tan, Dean of the School of Management; Dr. Florence Evacitas, Chair, Department of Biology and Environmental Science; Prof. Jay Jore, Coordinator, Fine Arts Program; Dr. Jocelyn Pinzon, Faculty member of the College of Communication, Art & Design (CCAD); Prof. Palmy Pe Tudtud, Faculty member, CCAD; Prof. Lilia Tio, Faculty member, CCAD; Prof. Mae Claire Jabines, Faculty member, College of Social Sciences; Prof. Nelia Ereno, Faculty Member, Department of Mathematics and Physics; Dr. Belinda F. Espiritu, Director, CVSC. Ms. Cora Jane C. Lawas, University Researcher, and Ms. Lyn Desucatan, Project Research Aide, were also present during the round table discussion.
CVSC also conducted a half-day workshop on scoping studies last November 21, 2018 from 12:00 noon to 4:30 pm during which time three study leaders were identified. They are: 1) Dr. Florence Evacitas – for environmental sustainability of ecotourism sites in Cebu; 2) Prof. Mae Claire Jabines – for the sociocultural and economic impacts of tourism in Mactan, Cebu; and 3) Prof. Jay Jore – for art tourism in Cebu. The study leaders each signed a scoping study contract which stipulates that they were entitled to an honorarium in two tranches. The first tranche was released upon signing of the contract and the second tranche was released upon submission of the study proposal with a line item budget on December 12, 2018.
UP Cebu’s Research Project on Sustainable Tourism in Central Visayas aims to support the regional development agenda of sustainable and inclusive economic growth by mapping out and implementing a sustainable tourism research agenda for Central Visayas. The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 of the World Economic Forum states that “travel and tourism and its enabling ecosystems have proven to be significant drivers of economic growth” and recognizes that this sector is an enabler for inclusive and sustainable growth. According to the report, T&T “has potential to play a key role in creating high quality employment opportunities, act as a vehicle to protect and restore the planet’s biodiversity and help build bridges between people and cultures.” In a report , which ranked competitiveness of countries in the T&T sector, the Philippines ranked 79th out of 136 countries and scored low in environmental sustainability (118th), moderate in cultural resources (60th) and high in natural resources (37th).
UP Cebu has brought in its multidisciplinary expertise to look into issues, challenges, constraints success stories, prospects, and opportunities in the tourism industry of the region, focusing on three areas of sustainable tourism: 1) Ecological balance and environmental integrity; 2) sociocultural and economic impacts of tourism; and 3) cultural tourism, with focus on art tourism.
The first year of the research project was geared to exploring not only the trends, statistics, and updates in tourism in Central Visayas, but more importantly, it asked the question, “How sustainable are the tourism industries in Central Visayas?” A discussion paper has been written which looks into the measures taken, the challenges faced, issues and concerns, and opportunities in sustainable tourism in Central Visayas. It sought to find out the following:
- the concerns, opportunities, and challenges in the sustainability of tourism in Central Visayas based on the environmental, economic, and sociocultural indicators for a sustainable tourism
- the contributing factors and some best practices towards sustainable tourism in Central Visayas; and
- the researchable topics for a sustainable tourism in Central Visayas
Original article on CVSC website