Dispatches from #GNW2014: Marketing Ecotourism

October 17, 2014

A Global Network Week classroom discussion becomes an idea incubator for Filipino tourism officials.

How do you know where to go when planning a ecotourism trip? The beaches in brochures may look serene, but how would a tourist know whether she is finding serenity or a boisterous nightlife scene? 

Marilyn T. Recarro, a Philippines Department of Tourism officer, visited the classroom this week to discuss the country’s 2013-2022 national plan for making ecotourism a central focus of economic development. After her presentation, students, Department of Tourism officials, and Asian Institute of Management staff jumped into a debate over the best ways to market the Philippines to tourists outside Southeast Asia. 

 “How do you get someone who may be booking a tour to one area to step off a flight and then head to Cebu or another island?” asked Professor Fernando Roxas. 

The classroom soon turned into an idea incubator for government tourism officials and AIM’s Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism. Students talked about their personal experiences planning trips within the country, giving officials valuable information about a key audience—students from abroad with an interest in ecotourism.

Mavy Acevedo Tizon, a student at IE Business School, said she planned a trip within the Philippines after Global Network Week, but didn’t know the best way to get from island to island to visit beaches, snorkeling sites, and a subterranean river attraction on the island of Palawan. “How do you know where to go unless a local tells you?” Tizon said. “How do you reach all of those places you see in the guides? There were no direct flights between some of these places. You have to do your market research to see if you can connect these places.”

Roxas said that the discussion showed how Global Network Week can bring perspectives from around the world together—which helps tourism officials and business leaders looking to create new opportunities in the Philippines as well as students. 

“There’s an advantage here, and we can use the GNAM to build long-term, lasting connections with students beyond Global Network Week,” Roxas said. 

Matthew O’Rourke is blogging this week from the Asian Institute of Management’s Global Network Week module on ecotourism.

View photos from Global Network Week at the Asian Institute of Management.