Thinking about your feedback loop; what information are you trying to get from whom, to whom, and to bring about what change?
Our web platform (kapwa.ph) will educate and enable tourists to make an informed choice based on local knowledge including the status of common resources and common dreams. The ‘Kapwa Certification' will involve local communities in measuring environmental and social responsibility including a business’ actions and plans vis-a-vis their waste stream, sourcing practices, and environmental design. This platform recognizes that responsible tourism ought to be about responsibility to local resilience. The platform will be a crucial incentive for tourism businesses to source locally and, therefore sustain local co-op production. Our initial target market is the balikbayan tourist because of our solid networks in the Filipino-American community. 30% of tourists in the Philippines are comprised of Filipinos living abroad. Connecting tourists with local information is key to changing the current system that enables tourism to benefit owners over the broader local economy. This does not necessitate a name and shame campaign. We believe that if the right incentive structures were in place, businesses could be enjoined to participate in the local economy as a good neighbor and a crucial solidarity market for local vegetables, fish, soap, bamboo products, 'green' charcoal and other tourism inputs. We are cognizant of the fact that ethical options along the value-chain of tourism are not always feasible or available in the current market. We hope to shift the conditions of possibility for ethical sourcing through our capacity-building with the community. Capacity-building itself a feedback system that empowers communities to seek out the information they need regarding current and future demand in the coastal value chain.
If other, please specify
To create new standards in responsible tourism
What mediums or mechanisms do you use to collect feedback? (check all that apply)
SMS, Paper, Website, Physical gathering.
Could you briefly describe the way you collect the feedback?
While this is still in the planning stage, we know we need a technology platform that can promote transparency in everyday practices by aggregating local reviews, traveler reviews, and ground-level information related to the Kapwa Certification. While criteria within the Kapwa Certification has yet to be fully determined, our approach will look at the value-chain of tourism, paying particular attention to water, energy, waste, food and community relations. In addition, a fisherman, a resort employee, and a tourist would each equally have the opportunity to provide qualitative data through a review process. How all these inputs with be 'weighted' is still TBD. Locals (employees and residents) will be encouraged to provide feedback via either a paper or sms anonymous questionnaire. Community leaders (of the fisherfolk associations in Bantayan for example) will encourage their members to participate in the survey. Survey-taking will occur twice a year to allow for progression on the part of a business; A poor rating can always be improved.
The tourist will be encouraged to review through the online platform. Transparent business practices and a metrics geared to tracking improvements in connecting the local economy would also enable the tourist to track her spending impact on development. This could be measured based on where she stayed, for how long, and the kinds of activities she participated in. Ultimately, it could produce a statement related to the social benefits of money circulating locally. A statement such as: “I spent 3 days snorkeling in Coron and helped send a child to school!” is a ‘shareable’ movement that will incentivize responsible business and champion a local economy at the heart of tourism.
If other, please specify
Economic pressure through tourist preference for social responsibility
Give two concrete examples of how feedback loops have brought a program or policy more in line with citizens’ desires.
The Seafood Choices Alliance (and partners) have done a very remarkable job at educating consumers about their seafood choices, and in turn providing crucial feedback and a sustainable demand market to the fisheries industry. Their main goal is not to promote a niche market in seafood, but to "convene and connect voices in a safe and neutral environment in ways that lead to industry change".
Fairtrade International has also been incredibly successful at creating a feedback system (certification) that enables more transparent production conditions (in coffee for example), thus creating 'actionable' knowledge for retailers and consumers. They have been able to connect consumers (mostly in the Global North) and producers (in the Global South) to promote an industry-wide shift towards fairness and accountability.
If there was one thing you could change to increase the impact of your feedback loop, what would it be?
Right now, we are planning to do this in Boracay and Bantayan in order to show proof of concept. However, the goal is really to scale it up to reach all tourism communities, even non-tourism communities. For this we need much more on-site capacity building than our one organization could really handle. Ideally, we would provide the modules, the feedback platforms, and some initial guidance, but ground-level assessments would be incorporated into the education curriculum at the college level in business administration, management, fisheries, agriculture etc.
If other, please specify
The feedback process needs to produce an outcome. Many in the communities are tired of research for research sake.
We've applied for the Gadfly Geo-Based web apps grant and if successful the Feedback Store could be resource to help us design the feedback platforms. Perhaps there is an open-source idea that we can modify for our purposes or we could integrate an existing platform (like Ideascale) into our main website.
What is the one thing you would most like to see changed to improve the competition process?
Conference calls in the early am or late pm EDT to accommodate those of us in a different time zone.
What are you doing to make sure that feedback providers know that they are empowered by the information they can give and that they know exactly what the information they are providing?
Seeing their feedback incorporated into a metrics and a technology platform will excite people, that their voices are being heard and accounted for in tourism forums. Ultimately, however, we need to prove in action that we are really improving the community in relation to water, waste, energy, food and social enterprise.