Sustainable resort tourism, Our most beautiful natural resource

Natural beauty and rich diversity abound in the Philippines, my adopted home. Both local and foreign tourists look forward to visiting its beaches, heritage towns and landmarks, mountains, rainforests, islands and diving spots.

In fact, tourism is one of the pillars of the Philippine economy with the industry contributing 13 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) last year, according to the Department of Tourism.

On the business side, investors in the sector are optimistic as they expect people to be on a “revenge travel” mode after two years of being locked down during the pandemic.

When I came here for the first time years ago,  I was initially impressed by the beauty of the Philippines as a haven for travelers. I have observed that there are a lot of beautiful locations for resort developments in the country.

Green architecture and sustainable development must be integral parts of resort development to ensure the protection of the environment and also to allow tourism to have a sustainable future. Designers must also consider the temperature and climate of the location they have chosen to determine the most appropriate  designs.

The availability of power can be a key challenge  for the resort, especially if it is located far from the grid. Solar panels with the batteries are a possible solution, and should become more and more viable as the technology improves from year to year.

Expensive technologies are not always needed to build a sustainable resort. Architectural design offers subtle, but powerful solutions for climate control, which is the biggest consumer of electricity in a tropical climate.  Shading, ventilation, and interior airflow, when designed properly to work together, can remove a large part of the resort’s demand for electricity and conventional air conditioning.

In terms of architectural style and design, my favorites are local, tropical and minimalist designs. which also reflects the rich and traditional elements of the locality. I prefer  the promotion of local materials and design because these are the things that meet the tourists’ demand for a sense of place. Visitors want to experience  authenticity, and the Philippines has so much to offer in terms of heritage and local design inspiration.

My company utilizes many of the design strategies mentioned here. As the chairman and CEO of Italpinas Development Corp., I am driven by sustainability and a sense of place. These factors drive my vision when IDC introduces new products. These are things that sustainable resort development can have in common with all progressive developments.

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