Archaeological Heritage Tourism in the Philippines: Challenges and Prospects
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Archaeological heritage tourism (AHT) plays a significant role in nation building and creating cultural awareness and feelings of cultural solidarity, continuity, and tenacity. However, the most visible benefit of AHT is its economic contribution. AHT brings foreign exchange, investments, and employment to the country. The Philippine government has been trying to capitalize on AHT to boost its tourism industry; however, the effort has had disappointing results. Moreover, AHT raises some difficult issues for archaeologists, national governments, and local communities. These include the limited impact on local development efforts evident from tourism promotion, difficulties achieving meaningful engagement of local communities in the tourism process, and challenges posed by ambiguous missions and often competition among government agencies. This paper addresses these issues through a case study of the Tabon Cave Complex in Palawan Province, the Philippines. The research shows that low destination awareness, institutional conflict, and lack of community engagement are reasons for the weak success of the Tabon Cave Complex as a tourism destination in the Philippines.
KeywordsArchaeological heritage tourism Philippines Palawan Tabon Cave Complex Tourism Economic development Community engagement Institutional conflict Destination awareness Archaeological awareness
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