Trash or Treasure? A Qualitative Exploration of Gleaning By-Products in Tourism Supply Chains in Remote Filipino Fishing Communities
Keywords:souvenir, gleaning, supplemental livelihoods, shell handicrafts, tourism development
Souvenirs have become an integral part of consumptive tourism with marine curios being a common offering in coastal destinations. The Philippines, an emerging coastal destination is also a large exporter of marine shells. There is some overlap in the species exported as shell souvenirs and those that serve as an important protein source for coastal residents. In some such communities, following consumption of the mollusc, the shell by-products are discarded. Given the state of poverty common to many remote artisanal fishing communities coupled with the tourism demand for shell curio and handicraft, it is expected that potential opportunities exist for small-scale revenue generation from the sale of discarded shells. Using supply chain theory, this paper investigates the post-consumption use of shells obtained via gleaning activities in four remote Filipino fishing communities. Qualitative interviews revealed potential gaps and breakages in the supply chain that currently limit the potential for transitioning shells as waste/by-products to souvenir products in the tourism sector. The findings are discussed in terms of potential applications for environmental management and social development. The results suggest the potential for the transformation of an existing practice – gleaning and its by-products – into an in-demand curio product as a supplemental livelihood for impoverished fishing communities.
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