JULY 2024 ISSUE

Research Article

From Terrorism to Peaceful Tourism: Status of Sustainable Tourism in Cotabato Province

Abstract

Exploring Cotabato Province's shift from conflict to a sustainable tourism hub has noticeable changes over time. Sustainable tourism is one of the dimensions of peace. This study aimed to assess the status of sustainable tourism. Using a phenomenological approach, insights were collected from interviews and focus groups in three municipalities in Cotabato Province. Results show significant strides in peacebuilding and economic empowerment, driven by community-engaging sustainable tourism initiatives. Conflicts created massive displacement, persistent conflict, economic failure, and discrimination. Inter-government and non-government stakeholders offered initiatives to address the existing conflicts. These initiatives are further anchored in peacebuilding, economy, and security. In addition, formalizing the negotiation and peace agreement between stakeholders fostered culture-to-culture and people-to-people toward the development of peace and tourism. The status of sustainable tourism provided women empowerment in the community in promoting tourism. It allowed them to engage in the economic recovery of the locality. The findings highlight sustainable tourism as a key driver for peace and development, providing a replicable model for post-conflict regions. It reversed the perception of the tourists about areas. The newly discovered status in creating sustainable tourism provides a springboard for promoting tourism development policies and standards. This study encourages the exploration of the business tourism aspect in the promotion of peace and sustainable tourism in other provinces.

Keywords: Sustainable tourism; Economic empowerment; Peacebuilding; Security; Cotabato Province; Phenomenological research

From Terrorism to Peaceful Tourism: Status of Sustainable Tourism in Cotabato Province