Woman selling groceries in the Philippines

Philippines Tourism company develops offers with indigenous groups


In the Philippines, tourism plays an important role in economic development - almost 20 percent of the gross domestic product is generated through it. For further expansion, it is important to preserve the cultural and natural heritage of the island nation and place greater focus on environmental and social standards. As part of the develoPPP programme funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Bundesministeriums für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung, BMZ), Pardon/Heider Touristik GmbH (Reisen mit Sinnen) and DEG - Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH developed appropriate tourism offers that include local ethnic groups. In this way, the company hopes to open up new destinations for its programme and thus meet the increasing demand for sustainable tourism offers.

Among other aims, the Philippine development plan for 2017 to 2022 focuses on creating new jobs in the tourism sector to fight poverty and achieve prosperity for as many people as possible. Mass tourism such as in Boracay, one of the most visited holiday resorts in the archipelago, is not a model for this. In the future, the country wants to put more emphasis on sustainable tourism that focuses on the preservation of traditions, cultural heritage and nature and establishes environmental and social standards. This should help to improve climate and environmental protection in the island state and offer previously disadvantaged indigenous population groups an economic prospect. For Reisen mit Sinnen, which offers sustainable travel, the establishment of corresponding offers beyond the regions developed for mass tourism is economically indispensable in order to be able to position itself with its own profile in the long term. This is where the develoPPP programme comes in, because cooperation with ethnic groups requires a lot of time and preparation to qualify people accordingly and to be able to develop marketable products.

The aim of the project, which had a budget totalling 350,000 euros, was to initiate tourism offers in selected communities in less developed regions. To this end, the project partners implemented the following measures, among others, on the island groups of Luzon and Visayas and in the province of Palawan between 2017 and 2019:

  • Four ethnic communities were selected for training programmes on tourism at the community level.
  • Community members received training on first aid, food safety, hygiene and sanitation, as well as other topics, as a prerequisite for setting up transport and hospitality businesses.
  • Basic infrastructure was created for sustainable tourism in the communities.

Reisen mit Sinnen managed the project together with Travel Authentic Philippines (TAP), long-time local partner and expert on the ground, both contributing their expertise in establishing sustainable tourism. In addition to providing financial support, DEG structured the project together with the partners in the preliminary stages.

Working closely with the local ethnic communities, we have managed to develop a tourism offer that meets ecological, economic and social aspects and adds some very special and attractive destinations to our offer.
Marion Heider, Partner at Pardon/Heider Touristik GmbH
group photo of the training programme
Four ethnic communities were selected for the training programme. Photo: Reisen mit Sinn
Tourists take boat trips
The aim of the project was to promote sustainable tourism in harmony with the preservation of traditions, cultural heritage and nature. Photo: Reisen mit Sinn
Sustainable tourism
The project has established the basic infrastructure for sustainable tourism. Photo: Reisen mit Sinn

The project supported the selected ethnic communities to protect their natural and cultural heritage while developing a tourism offer that improves their income and creates economic prospects. In addition to those who directly received a qualification or were able to set up their own business, numerous other family members in the communities benefited from the improved overall economic situation.

In close cooperation with the ethnic communities, the company succeeded in developing new offers for environmentally and socially responsible tourism, and was thus able to expand its own programme to include attractive destinations.

  • 4 ethnic communities qualified
  • 357 community members directly trained
  • 3,600 community members benefited indirectly
  • 18 transport and hospitality businesses established

Development successes

Economic prospects for disadvantaged indigenous population groups

Improved environmental and social standards in tourism

Qualifications for establishing transport and hospitality businesses

Business successes

Additional regions opened up for sustainable tourism

develoPPP Classic

develoPPP Classic is aimed at medium-sized and large companies that want to invest sustainably in a developing or emerging country and expand their operational activities locally. Suitable projects receive technical and financial support of up to two million euros in public funding.

Reisen mit Sinnen - Pardon/Heider Touristik GmbH

The company stands for sustainable and responsible tourism that respects and values nature, the local population and their cultural wealth.

DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH

The KFW subsidiary specializes in the complex financing arrangements in developing and emerging markets and has extensive expertise in long-term investment financing. DEG finances and supports manufacturing companies, agribusinesses and companies in the infrastructure and financial sectors.

Marion Heider Partner Reisen mit Sinnen – Pardon/Heider Touristik GmbH
Alexandra Neuwirth Project Manager develoPPP Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH