Tourism promos should highlight local communities, not sideline them
My friends and fellow content creators recently had the chance to work with the community of Tranca, a small barangay in the town of Bay, Laguna. Our team was tasked to create a short tourism video for the community, a video that would showcase the different sceneries of the barangay.
The pandemic has greatly affected the community, especially small businesses that had to struggle with the transport of goods, and the intricacies of the demand and supply chain. It was overwhelming for us to include all the problems we saw. But I also realized that how we package the promotional material could have an impact on the local community.
Promoting domestic tourism is not entirely about showcasing the spectacle of sceneries. We agreed that this project will put an emphasis on the locals and their way of life, instead of superficial flaunting of colors, culture, or any form of exoticism for food, place, or even plants. The promotion of domestic tourism should be aimed at creating employment within the community, featuring the local businesses, and boosting the livelihoods that are already present in the community. It should incentivize locals and encourage community businesses to thrive; it should not end with festivals; and it should not encourage the entry of multinational businesses at the expense of the local industries, i.e. farming, crafts, karinderia (eateries), and other community-based livelihoods. That is what “community-based tourism” should be about.
It made me wonder how our public officials craft the promotion of community-based tourism? How do they conceptualize provisions and ordinances? Do they consult the different local sectors?
Today, as we face the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become apparent that development in domestic tourism has slowed down over the last two years. As our lives return to normal, government agencies should set the bar high in helping community-based tourism bounce back. And as we continue to take pride of our homelands, we should remember to always tell the stories of our “kapwa” in the community—the locals who live there and whose lives will be impacted whether or not the local tourism thrives.
Roy Padrid, email@example.com