The travel and tourism industry is the world’s largest and most diverse industry . In a report of World Tourism Organization entitled International Tourism, it has pointed out the desire to standardize the definitions in the tourism industry throughout the world. This shows that tourism is an industry at its mature stage. Standardization has been a product of the big growth of demand for this industry. Meanwhile, studies show that there is a present shift of tourism growth in Asia.
Asia has experienced a great increase in tourism for the past years. Southeast Asia, in particular has experienced the fasted growth in tourism. Tourism contributes significantly to 11 of the 12 countries that account for 80% of the world's poor. Seven of these countries are in Asia, namely, Bangladesh, People's Republic of China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, and the Philippines. In fact, tourism in Asia is in a thriving condition. Since 1990, the Asia-Pacific region has become an increasingly important tourist destination, and it is the fastest-growing region for international tourism worldwide.
The Philippines is trying to catch on with the key players of the Southeast Asian tourism, according to the World Tourism Organization (WTO) study. The double digit gain is attributed to growth of global tourism business; increase travel to the Asia Pacific region; and aggressive and sustained marketing of the Philippines through the WOW Philippines. The United States remained the top tourism source for the Philippines. Japan and Republic of Korea followed The figures are very promising.
The Philippines reported that tourism products such as health, sports, nature and adventure, ecotourism, convention and business have been aggressively promoted by the Department of Tourism both in international and local tourism forum. In addition, new types of tourism products are continually being developed by the government in coordination with the private sector and local government units not only to attract more tourists but to promote a more quality tourism experience. The simple concept of tourism has transformed into many specializations such as -- "sustainable tourism", "peace through tourism”, "poverty reduction through tourism" and “nature-based tourism”. Furthermore, it has shifted from being a collective effort of the entire government to it being decentralized. And different studies have now embarked on focusing on these trends.
Holistic approach to developments has been greatly considered. Within this holistic approach are the concepts of ecotourism and sustainable development. This ‘general’ approach has been attributed to the Agenda 21 which was a product of the “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. In the said summit, also known as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the concept of sustainable development – a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs—was introduced. Within the scope of the said summit, are the principles for guiding action on environment and development. Since then, developments have geared towards addressing the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.
Ever since, these outlook on developments have been considered. Safeguards for environmental protection and cultural sensitivity should be developed and enforced, together with effective land use planning, zoning, and regulation. Most importantly, a sensitive balance between destination marketing and destination preparedness needs to be maintained. Studies have assimilated and promoted such perspectives. In a joint publication of WTO, the World Travel & Tourism Council, and the Earth Council entitled: “Agenda 21 for the Travel and Tourism Industry” practical steps that governments and private tourism companies can take to implement the goals of the Rio Earth Summit and make...