Palace shrugs off US travel advisory

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The US travel advisory was issued on the same day the Philippines' tourism department launched its new campaign strategy to attract tourists

MANILA, Philippines – Malacanang is not bothered by the recent travel advisory issued by the US Embassy in Manila as they consider the warning as “not new.”

“From what I understand from my counterpart in the DFA(foreign affairs), there is really nothing new in the recent advisory such that the content was already mentioned in the previous advisory,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in an interview over  Radyo ng Bayan (DZRB) on on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012.

“It is just a reiteration,” she added, referring to the Jan. 5 travel advisory posted by the embassy on its website.

The US embassy’s warnings triggered by terrorism-related treats, mostly in Muslim Mindanao areas, came on the same day the Philippines launched its much awaited tourism campaign tagline, “It’s more fun in the Philippines.”

The tourism department is banking on its country branding campaign to boost tourist arrivals in the country to 4.2 million in 2012 and at least 10 million by 2016, the end of President Aquino’s six-year term.

The Philippines is one of the laggards in attracting tourists in Asia largely due to  comparatively lower budgets for its traditional marketing efforts and restrictive aviation policies in the past.

This time, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez is going the non-traditional route by tapping on social media networks to keep the buzz going. It’s the first time in Asia that a tourism campaign is being crowdsourced.
Nonetheless, Valte said the government will take all the measures to ensure the safety and protection not only of our citizens but those who visit us.” –

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