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AIM to pitch capacity-management plan to DoT

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A THINK tank attached to the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) hopes to propose to the Department of Tourism (DoT) a recommendation to help local government units (LGUs) come up with capacity-management plans for major tourist attractions.

Fernando Martin Y. Roxas, the Executive Director of AIM’s Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism, said the center hopes to present its plan to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

“Capacity management here does not just talk about numbers but also the nature of activities you allow tourists to engage in,” Mr. Roxas said in a roundtable with reporters on Tuesday.

Capacity management involves balancing tourist arrivals and the volume of visitors an area can hold.

“There’s no formula for capacity management. Each particular site is unique. And therefore, the capacity management system should be tailor-fit to that particular area,” Mr. Roxas added.

The generation of local jobs and revenue, Mr. Roxas said, should be the end-goal of any capacity management program.

As such, the center hopes to work with LGUs on the potential for climbing the tourism value chain, in industries such as hotels and tour services, among others.

“Most of the problem when we talk to LGUs is that many of them do not have this concept of a value chain,” Mr. Roxas said.

He cited the case of Mt. Pinatubo which is currently the center of a dispute among three barangays over which one is entitled to collect entrance fees.

“In the meantime, it’s the Koreans who established all the other services around Mt. Pinatubo. There is a spa, Korean-owned. There are tours, Korean-owned. There are hotels, Korean-owned. And we were fighting about who will issue the receipt,” Mr. Roxas said.

“So the concept of value chain is missing and we’re trying to bring that level of understanding to the grassroots.”

Citing data from market research firm Millward Brown, Mr. Roxas said 29% of total global tourism expenditure in 2015 was spent on shopping. Some 23% went to dining; 20%, to activities; 10% accommodation; and 7% to airfare.

Although he noted that political interference and the effectivity of community leadership can hinder the process of arriving at sustainable solutions, Mr. Roxas said capacity management systems should be agreed upon by all sectors and stakeholders.

“So [it should] not [be] one sector imposing its views on the others,” he added.

He added that the center is studying some areas to apply this approach. If simulations yield positive results, AIM will include the developed sustainability model to its list of proposals to the DoT.

AIM is also looking to develop a project linking small- and medium-sized entrepreneurs with the financial institutions that can offer them credit.

Last year, tourism’s contribution to the economy was at its highest level in 18 years at P1.929 trillion in terms of gross value added, up from the P1.554 trillion a year earlier. — Janina C. Lim