THE Department of Tourism is looking for a new tourism campaign slogan which it will launch at the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena on January 30, 2017. The current one – “It’s More Fun in the Philippines!” – had been introduced by the Aquino administration and cited for bringing in more tourists to the country, many more than the previous ones.
But the Philippines remains way down in lists of countries visited by tourists. The World Economic Forum’s travel and tourism competiveness index in May, 2015, ranked the Philippines 74th among 141 economies. This was eight places higher than its 82nd spot in 2013, but still way behind so many countries that are visited today by 1.186 billion international tourists worldwide.
The World Tourism Organization report in 2015 said the Philippines had 4.83 million international visitors in 2014. In Southeast Asia, we were behind Malaysia which had 27.4 million; Thailand, 24.7 million; Singapore, 11.8 million; Indonesia, 9.4 million; and Vietnam, 7.8 million. In the whole of Asia, the leading tourist destination was China with 56.6 million visitors. In the whole world, the leader was France with 84 million.
With statistics like this, we must strive to improve our own tourism figures. The Department of Tourism hopes a new slogan will help. Before “It’s More Fun in the Philippines!” we had “Fiesta Islands Philippines,” “WOW Philippines,” and “Pilipinas Kay Ganda.”
New Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said the move for a new slogan was prompted by a survey conducted by Nielsen which said that while 65 percent of respondents in the European market liked the present one, only 26 percent had any intention of visiting the country. Similarly, 72 percent of the respondents in North America liked the slogan, but only 45 percent would like to come and visit.
A new slogan may help in the campaign, but the DoT should realize that there are some far more important considerations for people planning to travel to see the world. We have so many of these good reasons – our rich history as seen in the Walls of Intramuros and other vestiges of the Spanish colonial era, our beaches and lakes such as those of Boracay, and our friendly people.
But we also suffer from reports of kidnappings and beheadings such as those of the Canadian victims of the Abu Sayyaf and the traffic which has made Metro Manila known throughout the world. For a while, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport topped the list of the world’s worst airports. Now we have American, Austalian, European, and United Nations officials voicing their concerns about extra-judicial killings.
We will soon have a new tourism campaign slogan aimed, according to the DoT, at projecting the change being effected in the country by the new Duterte administration. We hope it will succeed and the steady increase in tourism arrivals in our country will continue and be further boosted by the new efforts of the DoT.