Power and Politics in Tourism Policy and Planning in the Philippines

  • Edieser D. Dela Santa
Part of the Perspectives on Asian Tourism book series (PAT)


The objective of the chapter is to examine power and politics as factors that constrain tourism policy and planning in the country. It draws from emerging research and illustrative cases on the governance of Philippine tourism. The starting point of the analysis is the comparative performance of the tourism industry and the implementation of the Philippine Tourism Act of 2009. The stated goal of the Tourism Act is to make tourism an engine of economic growth and cultural affirmation. This is supposed to be achieved through a range of programs and projects including the design and implementation of a mandatory tourism accreditation system and the facilitation of tourism investments.

However, the implementation of these programs is not happening as envisioned. Indicators show that accreditation levels have remained below one-fourth of the total number of registered tourism businesses. In addition, after 6 years of inaction, the Bureau of Internal Revenue has only recently announced the rules granting fiscal incentives for tourism investments, thus wasting time and precious opportunities to develop tourism infrastructure.

This chapter examines some of the structural constraints, rooted in the country’s history as a traditional society, that have hindered the implementation of the abovementioned policies and plans. Power and politics and how these are manifested in destabilizing ways, such as in regime changes, displays of impunity, and turfism, are the main foci. The chapter highlights observations that unless the oppressiveness of these factors is mitigated, the context of Philippine tourism policy and planning will remain very challenging.


Power and politics Tourism policy Tourism planning Philippines 


  1. Aberin, J. M. L., & Usman, U. P. (2014). Issues in the accreditation of tourism establishments: The case of resorts in Laiya, San Juan, Batangas. Thesis. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Asian Institute of Tourism.Google Scholar
  2. Abinales, P. N., & Amoroso, D. J. (2005). State and society in the Philippines. New York: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.Google Scholar
  3. Almonte, J. T. (1993). The politics of development in the Philippines. Kasarinlan, 9(2/3), 107–116.Google Scholar
  4. Anda, R. D. (2015). Palawan resort owner faces string of cases., March 19. Available at:
  5. Anderson, B. (1998). The spectre of comparisons. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  6. Arnaldo, M. S. F. (2016). BIR revenue regulation sought to stem tourism investment losses. Business Mirror, September 22 . Available at:
  7. Balisacan, A. M., & Hill, H. (2003). An introduction to the key issues. In A. M. Balisacan & H. Hill (Eds.), The Philippine economy: Development, policies, and challenges (pp. 1–44). New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bramwell, B., & Sharman, A. (1999). Collaboration in local tourism policymaking. Annals of Tourism Research, 26(2),392–415.Google Scholar
  9. Bramwell, B., & Meyer, D. (2007). Power and tourism policy relations in transition. Annals of Tourism Research, 34(3), 766–788.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Burgos, Jr N. P. (2014). DENR ends lease agreement with controversial Boracay resort., October 17. Available at:
  11. Business Mirror. (2016). SC rules Bloomberry Resort’s gaming income not subject to tax. Business Mirror, September 6. Available at:
  12. Cole, S. (2006). Information and empowerment: The keys to achieving sustainable tourism. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 14(6), 629–644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Coronel, S. S., Chua, Y. T., Rimban, L., & Cruz, B. B. (2007). The rulemakers: How the wealthy and well-born dominate Congress. Quezon City: Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.Google Scholar
  14. Corpuz, O. D. (1997). An economic history of the Philippines. Quezon City: University of Philippines Press.Google Scholar
  15. David, R. S. (2008). Thoughts on new politics. Philippine Daily Inquirer, February 2, p. 12.Google Scholar
  16. De Leon, R. C., & Kim, S. M. (2017). Stakeholder perceptions and governance challenges in urban protected area management: The case of the Las Pinas – Critical habitat and Ecotourism Area, Philippines. Land Use Policy, 63, 470–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dela Santa, E. (2013). The politics of implementing Philippine tourism policy: A policy network and advocacy coalition framework approach. Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, 18(8), 913–933.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dela Santa, E. (2015). The evolution of Philippine tourism policy implementation from 1973 to 2009. Tourism Planning & Development, 12(2), 155–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dela Santa, E., & Saporsantos, J. (2016). Philippine Tourism Act of 2009: Tourism policy formulation analysis from multiple Streams. Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events, 8(1), 53–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Development Academy of the Philippines. (2016). Modernizing Government Regulations – Tourism. Final Report. Pasig CityGoogle Scholar
  21. Dizon, H. M. (2015). The contested development of a Philippine tourism landscape: The case of Nasugbu, Batangas. Kasarinlan, 30(1), 91–129.Google Scholar
  22. Domingo, R. W. (2013). Hotels’ bid for tax perks rejected., May 23. Available at:
  23. Dressel, B. (2011). The Philippines: How much real democracy? International Political Science Review, 32(5), 529–545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Habito, C. F. (2009). Our failure: Enforcement and implementation. Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 15. Available at:–194312/Our-failure-Enforcement-and-implementation
  25. Hall, C. M. (1994). Tourism and politics: Policy, power and place. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  26. Hall, C. M., & Jenkins, J. M. (1995). Tourism and public policy. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Henderson, J. C. (2011). Tourism development and politics in the Philippines. Tourismos: An International Multidisciplinary Journal of Tourism, 6(2), 159–173.Google Scholar
  28. Hutchcroft, P. D. (1998). Booty capitalism: The politics of banking in the Philippines. New York: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Kerkvliet, B. J. (1995). Toward a more comprehensive analysis of Philippine politics: Beyond the patron-client, factional framework. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 26(2), 401–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Knudsen, M. (2013). Beyond clientelism: Neighbourhood leaders on a Philippine Island. Anthropological Forum, 23(3), 242–265.Google Scholar
  31. Lange, A. (2010). Elites in local development in the Philippines. Development and Change, 41(1), 53–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Magadia, J. J. (2003). State-society dynamics: Policy making in a restored democracy. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Maguigad, V. M. (2013). Tourism planning in archipelagic Philippines: A case review. Tourism Management Perspectives, 7, 25–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Maguigad, V. M., King, D., & Cottrell, A. (2015). Political ecology of an urban tourist island in the context of climate change adaptation: Boracay Island, Philippines. Urban Island Studies, 1, 152–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Majanen, T. (2007). Resource use conflicts in Mabini and Tingloy, the Philippines. Marine Policy, 31(4), 480–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. McCoy, A. W. (2009). An anarchy of families: State and family in the Philippines. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  37. Montefrio, M. J. F. (2014). State versus indigenous peoples’ rights: Comparative analysis of stable system parameters, policy constraints and the process of delegitimation. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 16(4), 335–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Perez, J. B. (2015). Contribution of tourism to the economy is 7.8 percent in 2014, Philippine Statistics Agency, July 21. Available at:
  39. Quimpo, N. G. (2009). The Philippines: Predatory regime, growing authoritarian features. The Pacific Review, 22(3), 335–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rappaport, J. (1987). Terms of empowerment/exemplars of prevention: Toward a theory for community psychology. American Journal of Community Psychology, 15(2), 121–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Richter, L. K. (1982). Land reform and tourism development: Policy making in the Philippines. Cambridge: Schenkman Publishing Company, Inc..Google Scholar
  42. Rodolfo, C. L. (2005). A comparison of tourism policy frameworks: Philippines and Thailand. In R. B. A. Alampay (Ed.), Sustainable tourism: Challenges for the Philippines (pp. 23–80). Makati City: Philippine APEC Study Center Network and Philippine Institute for Development Studies.Google Scholar
  43. Romanillos, P. L. (2014). Bantayan resorts build back on no-build zone for coastal families. Cebu Daily News, May 30. Available at:
  44. Scheyvens, R. (2002). Tourism for development: Empowering communities. Harlow: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  45. Sidel, J. T. (1997). Philippine politics in town, district, and province: Bossism in Cavite and Cebu. The Journal of Asian Studies, 56(04), 947–966.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Simbulan, D. C. (2005). The modern principalia: The historical evolution of the Philippine ruling oligarchy. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press.Google Scholar
  47. Sofield, T. H. B. (2003). Empowerment for sustainable tourism development. Kidlington: Elsevier Science.Google Scholar
  48. Tadem, E. C. (2012). Grassroots democracy, non-state approaches, and popular empowerment in rural Philippines. Philippine Political Science Journal, 33(2), 161–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Valencia, C., & Villanueva, R. (2015). DENR targets erring Boracay resort establishments. The Philippine Star, May 5. Available at:
  50. World Economic Forum. (2015). The travel & tourism competitiveness index 2015. Available at:

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of the Philippines - Asian Institute of TourismDiliman, Quezon CityPhilippines

Personalised recommendations