This chapter is composed of nine parts. The background of the study, problem statement, theoretical framework, conceptual framework, research objectives, hypotheses of the study, significance of the study, scope and limitations, and definition of terms. The following will thoroughly explicate the significance of serious leisure qualities and economic index indicators in the Surf Resource Sustainability Index in choosing San Juan, La Union as a surf destination priority choice.
Background of the Study
During summer, both local and international tourists are thrilled to go under the sun to adore the white sands of the Philippines. The birth of surfing in the country is a great story that everyone should know. Baler is only known for fishing until the late 1970’s when the popular American film, Apocalypse Now, came to the Philippines to shoot. The movie starred Robert Duvali who plays Colonel Kilgroe, orders his men to ride the waves even though the surrounding is having a riot. While shooting the scene, a lot of locals were watching the shoot, they were amazed as the actors ride the big waves off-screen. After that, professional surfers extend their hand to teach surfing to the locals, but they always assure the safety of the locals (Conopio, 2013).
For almost 10 years the San Juan Beach is known for being the Surf Capital of the North in the Philippines because its waves are applicable for beginners, intermediate, and advanced surfers (Santos, 2013). The San Juan is bounded on the north by the municipality of Bacnotan along the Baroro River, and on the east by the municipalities of San Gabriel and Bagulin along the Dasay-Duplas-Nagyubuyuban Creek. On the south it is bounded by the City of San Fernando and on the west by the West Philippine Sea (San Juan La Union Government, 2014). The San Juan beach is six hours away from manila and it has a beautiful spot for surfing. It is the 4th longest coastline in the world with length of 36,289 km (Said, 2013).
However, it is lacking and losing its major market which are the surfers because of the existing surf spots in the Philippines (Buaron, La Union, 2009). Despite of the beautiful waves and scenery that San Juan, La Union can offer, the place lost its supremacy in terms of surf tourism here in the Philippines. The place has been overshadowed by the other places offering surf-related services.
As of today, The Department of Tourism is aiming to reform surf tourism in the Philippines as a major tourism product (Miraflor, 2016). The Department of Tourism has partnered with Australia’s Academy of Surfing Instructors (ASI) and its local chapter, the Academy of Surfing Instructors Philippines (ASIP). ASIP’s is obligated to practice all ASI functions, such as conducting instructor certification courses in the Philippines under strict ASI supervision (Lifestyle, 2016). These plans will also be applied to the different surfing facilities in San Juan, La Union.
This study aims to thoroughly explicate how the linkage of serious leisure qualities and the use of the economic index indicators in assessing and implicating can influence the mind of tourists and surfers. Through this study, we aspire to expose the surf tourism in San Juan, La Union to be recognized for its promising qualities and great potential and be the priority choice in choosing a surfing destination.
San Juan, La Union, with world-class beaches, rich culture, and beautiful scenery that’s facing the South China Sea, is unfortunately off the track in tourism industry after more famous tourist attractions like Hundred Islands in Pangasinan, Palawan, Batangas, and Boracay obtained more prominence in the past 10 years (Buaron, La Union, 2009). Although San Juan, La Union is one of the best surfing spots in the Philippines, a lot of tourists don’t see it as main spot for surfing. Habitually, foreign tourists and locals think of other places like Baler and Siargo Islands to surf.
The dominance of San Juan, La Union with regard to surf tourism here in the Philippines has been undermined by the locals and tourists. The place is not gaining any recognition even though it has been dubbed as the surf capital of the north here in the Philippines. Tourists tend to consider other places that meet with their surf-related preferences.
Regardless, San Juan, La Union has a potential to be a top choice in the surf tourism industry in the Philippines. This study will give you an overview of the assessment of existing problemsand possible solutions for San Juan Beach, La Union. Through this, surfers, locals, and tourists who are interested in surfing trips will be enticed to visit the San Juan Beach.
It said that the Surf Resource Sustainability Index can be used in the conservation of surf tourism sites (Martin & Assinov, 2013). With help of the index indicators, evaluation, expounding solutions and application actions can be efficiently done to develop a surfing destination. The implications must comply with the serious leisure qualities to know the tourists’ preference in a surfing destination.
Figure 1: Sustainability of Surf Sites (Martin & Assinov, 2013)
Surf Resource Sustainability Index or SRSI is a conceptual model built to study sustainability of surf tourism sites (Martin & Assinov, 2013). The framework precisely presents the idea of every indicator in an index or context. Each indicator contains the assessment of the researcher and the possible implications that can be done to develop, improve, or sustain the surfing site.
As the time passes, Philippines is gradually said to be becoming the surfing capital in Asia (Asilo, 2016). However, San Juan, La Union is not renowned to be a priority choice. It doesn’t take place to the lists of top surfing destination unlike Baler, Pagudpud, Bagasbas beach in Bicol, Calicoanisland in Samar, Cloud Nine in Siargao, Majestic Surf Break, and San Fernando, La Union (Surfing, 2016).
The indicators are the characteristics of a surfing destination. The characteristics of a surfing site are one of the major factors why tourists and surfers choose their preferred surfing destination. The economic index indicators are variables to be used in the assessment of the surfing site in San Juan, La Union. Utilizing the economic index indicator can be a massive help in the efficiency of determining the problems and probable rectification and development to be done.
In order for the formation of solutions in enhancing the surfing destination to be effective, the serious leisure qualities must strictly be considered. The application of the serious leisure qualities connection to a traveller’s preferences is essential in developing and improving a surfing destination (Barbieri & Sotomayor, 2013).
Figure 2: Serious Leisure Qualities (Barbieri & Sotomayor, 2013)
The study of Barbieri & Sotomayor has found the strong implication of serious leisure qualities in surf tourism. It also proved how the serious leisure qualities do not have an effect surf travel behavior but it is significantly consociated with the preferences on the appeal of a surfing destination, thus influencing the decision of surf travellers or tourists in their willingness to go on a surf trip and in choosing a surfing destination.
Serious leisure can be distinguished in six qualities (Stebbins, 2007). The six qualities are what motivate someone in pursuing an activity. The six distinctive qualities are: persevere, effort, career, ethos, and identity. With the knowledge of a tourist’s motivation in their pursuit, knowing how to satisfy their needs and comply with their wants can be easily achieved.
This encompasses the desired outcome of the study, which is to make San Juan, La Union a priority choice in the Philippines. This also elucidates the necessary measures to be conducted to achieve the coveted output and the possible threats through the utilization of the assessment and implications with the economic index indicators in acquiescence with the serious leisure qualities.
Figure 3: Conceptual Framework
The number of tourists visiting a surfing destination is the keystone to ascertain whether the place is the priority choice surfing destination or not. A tourist’s decision in opting for a certain destination is dependent to their leisure qualities which influences their preference in a surfing destination (Barbieri & Sotomayor, 2013). A leisure quality is the stimuli and their surf-related decision-making is the action. Whereas, the economic index indicators are what makes up a surfing destination. It characterizes what can be found and seen within the place. In a simplified exegesis, the indicators are what would satisfy or heed the leisure quality.
Using the leisure quality as a foundation, the economic index indicators can be assessed and formed an implication according to what the tourists want in a surfing destination. Once the economic index indicators are in compliance with the leisure qualities and the surf travel preferences, it will help tourists decide in their surf travel. This method will be applied to San Juan, La Union, in high hopes that it would serve as a catalyst in choosing San Juan, La union as the priority surfing destination in the entirety of the Philippines.
This study aims to develop the Sustainability Development Plan based from the Economic Index Indicators and Serious Leisure Quality.
This research will seek to answer the following:
A. What is the level of agreement in assessing a surf destination using the Economic Index Indicator?
B. What is the level of influence of Serious Leisure Qualities in choosing a surf destination?
C. Is there any relationship between the Economic Index Indicator and Serious Leisure Qualities?
The goal of this study is to reform San Juan, La Union as a priority choice in the surf industry through the assessment and formulation of implications using the Economic Index Indicators with consideration of the serious leisure qualities. The first step is to recognize and familiarize with the criteria. Second step is to discover the problem or the improvements needed by evaluating the surfing destination and assessing the problems that require attention. The third step is to formulate the solution or the approach to be made. The last step is the application of the suggested implications.
Hypothesis of the Study
This study provides a hypotheses in able to interpret the importance of Economic Index Indicatorand the Serious Leisure Qualities, to utilize it in order to develop San Juan, La Union to its peak.
H1:There is a high level of agreement in assessing a surf destination using the Economic Index Indicator.
H2: There is significance in using Serious Leisure Qualities in selecting a surf destination.
H3:There is a significant relationship between Economic Index Indicatorand Serious Leisure Qualities in reforming surf tourism in the Philippines.
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