It was one of my worst moments. As tourists, we behave differently in our own shores and when we are abroad. At times, I feel like I’m more generous with other nationalities than my own. Who would think twice signing up for temple tours in other countries as opposed to hiring a local guide in our provinces?
It makes sense, monetarily and morally, to support local tourism. From buying in full price to patronizing native guides, here are seven reasons letting you know the importance of supporting local tourism:
1. It’s their source of living.
In our eyes, they may be souvenirs or delicacies. But for their makers, these items put food on the table. Sure, the thrill of getting a good deal cannot be denied, but when you are buying something indigenous and labor-intensive (e.g. rice cakes and handmade products), perhaps it is worth it to shell out the extra cash.
2. It’s almost always cheaper.
As a rule of thumb, going local saves a ton of money. From transportation to restaurants, do as the natives do. For instance, a la paz batchoy in Panay is cheaper but tastes twice as good as the ones in Manila. When we went to Guimaras, we hit the jackpot with mango pizza and mango ketchup from a popular local eatery.
3. You get to travel light
It is more than likely that you won’t need to pack a lot for a local travel. Technically, even if you are planning to lug several OOTD for the gram, you won’t be needing to bring additional thick layers of clothing that would otherwise be a necessity if you’re travelling to a country with winter season. For a local travel, having one trusty travel bag can be enough to hold your stuff, for a week’s worth of stay, especially if you have mastered the art of packing true travel essentials.
4. It’s sustainable.
According to the Department of Tourism, the sector contributes 7% to the Gross Domestic Product or the amount of goods and services produced in the country. By 2016, tourism is expected to account for as much as 20% of total employment. Can you picture how many fellow Filipinos you are actually helping when you embark on domestic travels?
5. It can have its fringe benefits.
Have you explored Siquijor by motorbike, during its mystical festival every Holy Week? Gone to Sagada by riding top load? Or saw the mining underbelly of Compostela Valley? There is something fulfilling in knowing your country like the back of your hand, even its most remote regions.
6. Spontaneous trips can be fun as well
The best part about local trips is how you can do it in a whim and become an emergency reset button, when you need a quick break from the weekday hustle. Going to your destination won’t necessarily require you to book a plane ticket because a weekend getaway can be a simple spontaneous road trip with a group of friends, or your family, or even with just yourself among strangers. In case, you have the urge to go somewhere farther, to another island, domestic flights come at a cheaper price especially with prevalent seat sale promotions.
7. Inevitably, your travels become bigger than what you intended them to be.
In my own experience, to see the Philippines is to know more about my origin. I feel a deeper connection to the places I visit. It makes me appreciate the history and geography that has shaped the land I call home.
I feel that traveling makes me appreciate better my roots and culture as a Filipino. Traveling is a way for me to give homage to my country, and it lets me support the locals whose livelihood are weaved with tourism. Although traveling is not the only way to support our country, it is a fun and engaging way to do so while gaining new appreciation for our homeland. While you prepare for your future travel, here are some bright travel tips that you can follow.