The news spread like wildfire on Twitter last Wednesday evening. Soon enough many sites I’ve been following buzzed and confirmed that today, January 6, the Department of Tourism will finally launch the much awaited new tourism campaign for the Philippines. And so for the next two days, it became a trending topic. Suggestions were shared, hints were given, guessing game of the new slogan ensued, and the excitement escalated.
I also jumped on the bandwagon and started tweeting about the upcoming event. I could not even explain the enthusiasm I felt for the past two days. There was like an air of “bayanihan” wherein everyone was trying to lend a hand to help lift Philippine tourism to higher grounds. Finally, we are moving on together, hand in hand. And that made me feel extremely happy.
When it was announced that Mon Jimenez will take the helm of the country’s ailing tourism industry, everyone’s expectations soared high. In one of his interviews, he said that selling the Philippines to tourists "should be as easy to sell as chickenjoy.” He said that our country has all the potentials of attracting foreign tourists. We just need a good marketing strategy. Being a person highly esteemed in the advertising industry, the government thinks that he could share his expertise on this matter, and is the right person to do the fix.
And so today, he unveiled the new slogan: It’s more fun in the Philippines!
So, what do I think about it?
I actually like it.. hmm no, I Love It! I think it's fun, simple, catchy and has a whole lot of truth to it! It captures the sentiments of many Filipinos living here and abroad. It will make tourists want to go to our beaches, explore our caves, experience our festivities, dig on our food, etcetera ... all because it's more fun doing these things here! ! :)
Overall, I say KUDOS to the tourism team for the great concept.
But as we all know, attracting foreigners to spend their hard-earned money in our country does not end in logos, slogans and jingles. We need to make sure that these tourists enjoy every moment of their stay here. We need to make a positive impression enough to either make them want to return in the future or invite their relatives and friends in their home country to come visit us. Now, it's time to prove that indeed it's more fun to choose our country.
And on that note, more hard work has to be done. For me tourism is everyone’s concern and we all need to do our part to make this campaign a success. Here are some of my thoughts on what we need to improve on:
(Warning: What you will read below are real downers. I do not mean to cut short the merriment of the new campaign but if you want to face reality... read on.)
Improve NAIA. The expression “first impressions last” may be true to tourism, too. Our main airport is the first edifice that tourists get into once they arrive. It has to stand out and make an immediate impression. It has to be efficient and refreshing. Long boarding cues, pesky and unprofessional airport staff, falling ceiling and delayed/cancelled flights are some of the major turn off for visitors.
Address security issues. As of this writing, an Australian national have just been abducted in Zamboanga Sibugay and is pleading for dear life. I would not be surprised if in the days to come, Australia and some other countries will issue a negative travel advisory against our country. In addition to these threats, we also need to secure our streets and roads. We do not want to hear horrific stories wherein dishonest drivers, pickpockets and thugs are the main characters. Security issues have to be dealt with seriously in this country. Agencies like PNP and the Military have to help out if we want to keep tourists coming in.
Highlight our culture and national identity. Many tourists come to our country to experience how unique are we from the rest of the world. They do not come here for champagnes, cheeses and pasta. They are here to taste our exotic and local cuisines. They are here to experience the world famous Filipino hospitality. They are here to know our heritage and history.
Improve infrastructures. Roads leading to the tourists' destinations have to be efficient and clean, and well-maintained washrooms have to be built around these areas.
More works for the Tourism Department. We want more visibility of tourism representatives in all seaports and airports around the country. We want more comprehensive and contemporary websites, both of the national and provincial tourism offices. These will help local and foreign tourists to address their concerns.
Take advantage of the social media revolution. With today’s trend of journaling and sharing stories, we hold an unlimited power to contributing to the growth of tourism in our country. Blog, tweet or share your best travel stories. Let the world know about it. You never know, someone on the other side of the world is already itching to visit and experience the fun of our 7, 107 beautiful islands. And it could be... because of you. :)
Happy Backpacking Pilipinas!!! :)
I love the Philippines, because it's more fun being here! :)