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CLARK FREEPORT, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday, January 24, tried his arm at pitching the government’s new tourism catchphrase at the inauguration of a US$50-million training facility for airline pilots and aviation professionals.
The President inserted the government’s new tourism pitch about a fun Philippines thrice in his speech, in relation to the groundbreaking ceremony for the Philippine Academy for Aviation Training, Inc. (PAAT) in the former US military base in Pampanga, to be built by Cebu Pacific Air and Canadian firm CAE.
“I’d also like to welcome CAE to the Philippines. I hope that you’re not too busy with work to experience for yourselves just how much fun it is indeed in the Philippines. It seems to be repeated too often this day,” he said.
The President was referring to CEB president and chief executive officer Lance Gokongwei and Antonio Remollo, president and chief executive officer of Clark Development Corp who also used the tourism tagline in their speeches.
Mr. Aquino said his administration will do what it can “to make certain that companies—from both here and abroad—will continue to find good reason to invest here: our highly qualified and talented personnel, a market that is beginning to realize its potential, and of course, the Filipino’s hospitality and light-heartedness.”
“It is, as we say, again, truly more fun in the Philippines. I hope I earned my pay from Secretary Mon Jimenez today,” he quipped.
The President said that the government has been striving to liberalize the aviation industry, an important component of the tourism industry, as shown by the “very robust growth in both domestic and international air traffic” in the country last year.
He said that aside from the implementation of the pocket open skies policy, Philippine officials have been asking foreign airlines to include the Philippines in their Asian route expansions.
“This can only have a positive impact in the tourism sector, which, as I always say, is one of the low-lying fruits on our economic agenda. As Secretary Ramon Jimenez has said, selling the Philippines should be as easy as selling Chickenjoy,” the President said.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, who attended the ceremony, told reporters that the President’s use of the tourism catchphrase would be a big boost in the campaign as “it shows that the leadership is 100 percent behind the new program and the new campaign.”
Jimenez said that the results of the campaign, in terms of actual tourist arrivals and earnings, would be seen by the end of the 2012.
“We should be able to see it by the end of this year where we have targeted finally crossing the 4 million tourist mark in 2012. So keep your fingers crosses. Once we cross that 4 million, we’re on track, we’re finally on our way,” he said. – Rappler.com