SEVERAL studies have been conducted to theorize the complex links that exist between the tourism industry and processes of economic development.
The study conducted by Milne and Ateljevic ( 2001) took the readers to the past three decades and allowed them to reach the conclusion with a discussion of the ‘new’ economic geography of tourism, in which cultural and economic boundaries are being transcended across a variety of scales.
Other studies pointed out the importance of investigating the relationship between destination image and destination personality which were found to be related concepts, while the rest described the trends in developing traveller destination choice models which covered important issues in need of resolution for making advances in understanding, describing and predicting tourist decision-making .
What lies ahead of the tourism industry entails more qualitative review of tourist decision-making literature. However, findings of the 2010 Household Survey on Domestic Visitors (HSDV) conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO) generated vital data/information which may be considered for planning and inputs in the analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats on the tourism industry in this part of the country.
The 2010 Household Survey on Domestic Visitors (HSDV) aimed to gather data on household information on domestic tourism that are vital to the effective and efficient development and implementation of tourism plans and programs.
The data sought to provide core indicators on domestic tourism for policy-making purposes.
The survey yielded results that about 23.1 million Filipinos who are 15 years old and above have travelled within the country from April 1 to September 30, 2010.
These domestic travellers represent 36.6 percent of the estimated 63.2 million Filipinos who are 15 years old and over.
In 2010, about 42,000 domestic trips were reported by the 23.1 million travellers, and 42,400 places were visited within the country.
It is interesting to note that 53.3 percent were trips for pleasure or vacation followed by visit to friends or relatives and attendance to family gatherings with 36.9 percent.
The NSO, in another report, said that during that year, 1, 864 establishments or 60.4 percent operated under Activities of Tour and Travel Agencies.
The report was lifted from the results of the first-ever 2009 Survey of Tourism Establishments in the Philippines (STEP). The survey collected information on the available supply of tourism goods, products and services that are needed in the compilation of the Philippine Tourism Satellite Account (PTSA).
As revealed in the findings of the HSDV, two of the most frequently visited places in Mindanao are seen in the Northern Mindanao Region. These are in particular the provinces of Lanao del Norte and Misamis Oriental. Lanao del Norte obtained a total of 745,000 domestic travellers.
Out of these total travellers, Lanao del Norte acquired a total of 457,000 domestic travelers whose purpose is for pleasure or vacation.
On the other hand, Misamis Oriental garnered a total of 806,000 domestic travellers. It received a total of 335,000 domestic travellers whose purpose is for pleasure or vacation.
Such findings strengthened the description ascribed to Northern Mindanao as the eco-tourism hub of the Philippines because of its diverse environmental and cultural heritage(http://dfatip.ph/index.php/where-to-go/southphl/region10).
Indeed, the region is proud of its tourist spots which cover the pristine beauty of the paradise island of Camiguin whose coastline alternates between black or white sand beaches and volcanic rocks, Bukidnon’s plateau cut by the deep and wide canyons ,the beautiful twin falls of Maria Cristina Falls of Iligan City, the Dolphin Island in Sinacaban, the famous water rafting in Cagayan de Oro City and the renowned Divine Mercy Shrine of El Salvador City in Misamis Oriental which is only 30 minutes away from Cagayan de Oro City.
With such development, Northern Mindanao will have its own contribution to the tourism industry and realization of the statement of the Tourism Secretary Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. when he said: “When the industry exceeds expectations as it had done last year, we feel very encouraged. And with the overwhelming response to our new brand campaign launched last month, we know that we have broken ground on crowd sourcing. The people’s campaign will help bring more numbers.”