MANILA, Philippines [UPDATED] – The tourism department is set to launch its “It’s More Fun in the Philippines!” campaign in the international stage for the first time as part of efforts to attract a bigger share of foreigners visiting Asia.
In a press briefing on Sunday, March 4, Presidential Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte said a 41-man Department of Tourism (DOT) delegation, led by Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, is currently in Germany for the world’s largest travel trade show.
“Secretary Mon Jimenez is in Berlin right now…for the annual International Turismo Bourse (ITB)….the world’s largest travel trade show. This is scheduled from March 7 to 11,” she said.
In a statement, Jimenez explained that “Our participation in ITB this year is quite significant because it’s the first time for us to roll out the ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines’ campaign in a global event.”
“About half of the travel business is traded through the international travel bourse,” the tourism chief explained, adding that the ITB is institutional among travel wholesalers where direct selling and networking is done.
A big percentage of travel packages are bought from the travel bourse as compared with travel packages bought from the Internet or elsewhere, he stressed.
Jimenez said the Philippine’s 180-square-meter booth exhibit will represent destinations including Manila, Palawan, Boracay, Cebu, Bohol and Negros Oriental.
The colorful weave-style design of the “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign will be prominently featured in the booth that the DOT will share with its private sector partners representing a record 19 hotels, resorts, travel agents and tour operators.
The ITB has also provided the Philippine delegates a venue to establish and renew linkages with their industry counterparts in Europe and other source markets.
Every year, the ITB draws about 180,000 visitors and 10,000 exhibitors from over 180 countries. The Philippines has been participating in the fair since 1985.
“We are very confident that the new campaign will create a higher awareness level of the Philippines as an exciting and must-experience destination in Asia,” Jimenez said.
The new tourism campaign was launched in January 2012. It veers away from the usual one- or 2-word adjectives that have marked the likes of “Incredible India” or “Malaysia, Truly Asia.”
The Philippines’ new tourism strategy banks on creative interpretations on what makes Philippines fun.
The overall strategy is heavily dependent on social media to make the campaign viral online, but Jimenez had said that they still recognized the importance of making the Philippines’ presence felt in traditional international
Despite its many paradise-like islands in the tropics and hospitable English-speaking Filipinos, the Philippines lags behind Asian neighbors in attracting foreign visitors.
Recognizing that 98% of tourists visit the country by air, the Aquino government has pursued less stringent aviation policies and has specified airports outside Metro Manila, the capital, as part of “open skies” regime to attract more foreign airlines to bring passengers to local destinations.
The DOT is banking on its new tourism strategy and the reforms in aviation policies to increase the country’s tourist arrivals to 4.2 million this 2012 and 10 million in 2016.
Over 3.9 million foreigners visited in 2011, a record high for the country, but still pales in comparison to Vietnam’s over 5 million, Thailand’s over 19 million, and Malaysia’s 24.7 million. – Rappler.com