How to Become a Responsible Tourist

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Introduction

Responsible tourism is all about conformity of the tourist to the local culture, especially to the customs and laws of the host country or place of destination. There are different types of tourism and tourist. But all tourism is a cross-cultural encounter, an interaction between two cultures: the cultural orientation of the tourist and the culture or way of life of the tourist site. Thus, if an American tourist visits the famous Boracay Beach in the Philippines, he or she brings with her/his Western American culture mentality to the Philippines and interacts it with the local Filipino culture of the residents or hosts in Boracay island.

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Now, tourism often brings conflict in terms of cultural norms. Sometimes, tourists would impose consciously or unconsciously her or his cultural expectation and norm orientation to the tourist site and disregard the local norms and rules. For instance, Western tourists may find wearing bikinis in Philippine beaches as normal and culturally appropriate. But for rural folks in the Philippines, wearing this kind of outfit is culturally unacceptable and indecent.

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Cultural conflict is therefore inevitable. Thus, the tourist site or the host country must dictate how should tourists behave to protect the local culture. In this case, it must be the tourist site and authorities of the place who must determine through rules and policies how tourists must behave and become responsible to protect the local culture and attain sustainability of their tourism industry.

Here are some important tips on how the tourist can become responsible when visiting tourist sites:

  1. Orient yourself about the local culture of the place you are visiting. This includes knowing the customs or existing practices of the site. Know some basic rules on respect, decency, and social interaction.

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  1. Know the laws and ordinances of your place of destination before arriving at the area. Dont’s be afraid to ask friends or people who have visited the tourist spot you want to visit. Use the Internet or social media to get a glimpse of the rules.

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  1. Be respectful of the local people and customs of the place you are visiting. Don’t be arrogant and presume that you know many things about the site just because you are highly educated, rich, famous, and coming from a developed country.

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  1. Always remember that to become a responsible tourist means you conform to the norms and expectations of the tourist site and not the other way around. This advice is also good for your protection and safety when visiting tourist spots.

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Enjoy your trip, tour, and vacation! God bless!

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Profit, Corruption, and Red Tape in Doing Business in the Philippines

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Hiring and Profit in the Philippines

Textbooks and courses on business administration, management, and entrepreneurship with their emphasis on attaining business forecast and maximizing profit always imply that productive capital in doing business (such money, stocks, land, equipment, machinery, etc.) is a priority over labor (or workers’ welfare).

The common practice of some businesses is to sacrifice the wage and benefits of workers to lower production cost and thus attain their forecast and earn higher profit levels. This indicates a capitalist thinking which gives more importance to productive capital rather than labor. One unfair labor practice that shows this priority of the growth of capital rather than labor is the “casualization” of labor in developing countries like the Philippines.

To lower labor cost in order to increase profit is the hiring of casual workers from agencies with work contracts with less than six months to prevent employees to become regular or permanent under the Philippine Labor Code and thus save money by not spending for their social benefits. This practice indicates that businessmen/women are not really more concerned with the welfare of the workers by providing them permanent jobs and sufficient social benefits in the name of Christian charity and social justice but with the increase of profit or capital for their business.

The hiring of students as casual crew in fast-food chains rather than permanent employees is another example of this “casualization” and prioritization of capital over labor. The hiring of employees in security agencies, janitorial services, and call centers in the Philippines follows this trend of contractualization of labor.

Corruption and Doing Business in the Philippines

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Entrepreneurs who want to earn the profit for their business could be totally faulted if they fail to provide a moral wage which is sufficient to raise a family. From the point of view of business owners and managers, one important reason why they tend to lower the wage of workers in the Philippines is the high cost of doing business in the country. To maintain, expand or to stay profitable in business, entrepreneurs are sometimes pressured to lower the labor cost.

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Corruption is another expense in business. In Transparency International surveys, the Philippines has consistently been listed as among the most corrupt countries in Asia and in the world. Business owners and managers want to recovery the bribes they gave to corrupt government regulators and law enforcers often find ways to reduce production cost. And most often they resort to minimizing the wage and benefits of their employees. The capacity of employers to provide a decent wage to their workers is sometimes conditioned by the overall environment of doing business in a particular country.

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A World Bank report on the cost of doing business in 2018 revealed that the Philippines is one of the most unattractive destinations of foreign investment in the world because of the delay and high cost of starting and doing business in the country. In general, doing business in the country is tedious, time-consuming, and expensive, making it difficult for employers to be generous to their workers in wage and social benefits.

Red Tape

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Red tape is one major reason why employers incur higher expenses in doing business resulting which can sometimes reduce their capacity to give a higher wage and social benefits to their workers. Research and theory have been inconsistent and ambiguous on the nature of “red tape”. But there is  an understanding that red tape has something to do with excessive or meaningless paperwork  (Bennett & Johnson, 1979); a high degree of formalization and constraint (Hall, 1968); unnecessary rules, procedures and regulations; inefficiency; unjustifiable delays; and as a result from all this, frustration and vexation (Bozeman 1993, p. 273).

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Rosenfeld (1984) defines red tape as the sum of government guidelines, procedures, and forms that are perceived as excessive, unwieldy, or pointless in relation to official decisions and policy (as cited in Bozeman, 1993, p. 276). Theories abound why red tape exist in government regulation. But one popular theory sees the concern of the government to create a system of checks and balances in the regulatory process in order to avoid corruption and deviation from the official law as causing red tape.

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Red tape is one of the more serious bureaucratic obstacles in addition to legal obstacles in the full legalization of business in the local economy.  With numerous unnecessary paper works, bureaucratic requirements and procedures, and  unexplained delays in securing business registration, licenses and permits as well as  compliance with the yearly requirements and inspections to maintain legality in business,  traders or entrepreneurs increase their cost of maintaining their business which, in turn, can discourage them to improve the wage of their employees. Thus, the Philippines is one most difficult countries to do business in Southeast Asia as well as in the world according to the  World Bank Report on the ease of doing business in the world.

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