Tourism and Philippine business culture

Today I had a very nice day out to the Tinago Falls in Iligan. And on the way we stopped in the nature park in Initao, a (very small) piece of tropical rain forest on the coast where we used to go for swimming. And it turned out they had built a very interesting and impressive canopy walk in that nature park. But, as I have heard more often than I like, it was “temporary out of service”. And fortunately I was fast enough to walk up the walk bridge leading to the canopy walk and was even able to climb up the stairs that lead up to the bridges that hang high in the sky at tree top level. So there was indeed a canopy walk here, kind of unbelievable. And it was impressive. And in my opinion it has quite a lot of tourist potential. But it was out of order because the platform connecting the stairs to the bridges in the tree tops had fallen down or something.

So someone had had a very good idea and had even been able to realize the idea. But somehow it was not realized good enough. And somehow I guess there had not been enough paying tourists or local visitors to maintain this canopy walk. Or it was just not built good enough.

So when I came down to fetch a camera and made some photo’s and wanted to walk up the walking bridge leading to the stairs again I was stopped by the caretaker. Which didn’t really matter anymore as I had already seen what I wanted to see. So I came back and was not sure whether to tell him that I already had walked towards the stairs and had even climbed the stairs. Which of course probably was not safe. But as I am interested in helping The Philippines, helping e.g. building the tourist industry I asked who was the owner. And, of course(?!), it was the government. Which in my opinion means that it will be very hard to build a tourism industry. As governments in general are not good in building ‘industries’. Businessmen are good in that. So in my opinion tourism should be driven by businessmen wanting to make a profit, which in the end they can only do if they provide good service, provide things people want. And yes, governments should create the conditions, some conditions to support businesses. And maybe provide infrastructure. And yes, maybe even build the canopy walk itself and indeed be and stay the owner of things like this piece of rain forest.

But somehow in The Philippines the government is running many things that I think would be better run by business people, people looking for profit, people providing services and products in an efficient way at the right quality. And I have seen many things and even was involved in tourism related government projects. And I just see too much government involvement, like the government even running resorts and cafes and restaurants.

And somehow that doesn’t seem to work. And I keep wondering how that is in other countries, countries that are better in catering to the needs and wants of tourists and are better in also getting the money in.

So maybe really worthwhile how that is done in countries, in places that do have a flourishing tourist industry, like who is doing what there. Like what role does the private sector have and what role does the government have. And indeed,if cultural or natural tourist attractions have been damaged or ruined or destroyed if private businesses have too much power, too much control.

But I have seen better than here in The Philippines. So it can be done better and I guess I would like to do about that, for the people here, especially the poor people, and even for myself, as I still want The Malasag House also to cater to tourist needs.

So let’s see what can be done. As there are really beautiful and nice things to see and to do. Like I saw and did today.

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