Since everyone else in the blogosphere is doing it, why not?
Now that I’ve shown I’m no party pooper on the newest Philippines tourism campaign, let me state my reservation. My beef is not really on the campaign itself but on government policy (or lack thereof) on environmental and cultural conservation.
There are tourist spots like Palawan that are relatively better managed (although mining is still screwing up the place). Then there’s Boracay, which is a prime example of tourism gone haywire. Development has clearly gone beyond the island’s carrying capacity and yet more hotels, restaurants and bars are still being built and more people are still coming in.
While the tourism department is focused on bringing in more visitors, there has been no effective national policy on conservation. Can we really be sure that resorts and hotels are complying with environmental standards? Do these establishments implement proper waste management? Is development not encroaching on the life and culture of locals? In the first place, who’s checking anyway?
We may succeed in reaching or even surpassing our tourism targets but it would be a Pyrrhic victory if we’re just left with garbage and damaged goods after tourists have gone home. It is more fun in the Philippines. I believe that with all my heart. Let’s just make sure we don’t end up with heaps of trash on our yard and a wrecked living room after the party is over.