..FOR the Department of Tourism (DOT), the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign was able to reach a wide audience with little cost to the government.
DOT Assistant Secretary for tourism planning and officer-in-charge of the Tourism Promotions Board Domingo Ramon Enerio III said that the campaign is still in its early days but the catchphrase has spread “like wildfire.”
“It has become a people’s campaign,” he said.
Enerio said the simple truth about the Filipino people is the secret to its success, saying the campaign’s message is easy to understand, speaks the truth about the Filipino culture and makes the locals proud. “It’s a direct call to action for every Filipino.”
Because of this, Enerio said Filipinos were challenged to take part in the campaign.
During yesterday’s Tourism Congress, Enerio enumerated the marketing efforts of the department, citing participation in several international travel shows and paid advertisements in international publications, networks and billboards.
They are also strengthening their online presence, with a dedicated website for the campaign, managing social networks and encouraging more bloggers to discuss the Philippines.
He urged Cebu to take the lead in promoting tourism in the country so it can achieve its target of 4.6 million visitors this year and 10 million by the end of 2016, Cebu being a popular tourist destination.
For her part, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, cited the people in the countryside as the best ingredient that led to the success of the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo.
She said that the essence of the program is the act of traveling itself, the destination only coming in second.
The project, she said, instills in people “pride of place” and that they discover more about themselves as they try to find what is unique in their town to feature in the Suroy-Suroy program.
Since they started, Garcia said small towns have reaped the benefits of tourism, with even barangays wanting to put up their own museums.
The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) awarded Garcia with the grand tourism award for her “leadership in expansion of countryside tourism” especially with the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo, sustainable eco- tourism and entrepreneurship tourism programs and “moral and maternal support” to the Tourism Congress.
Tourism men of the year were also awarded to Latvian consul Robert Lim Joseph and Islands Group president Jonathan Jay Aldeguer for their “valuable advocacies and sustainable projects in local and national tourism” and their continued support to CCCI projects.
Also during the congress, the results of the Turismo Sugbo project was unveiled, with students presenting their tourism plans for some of the Cebu towns.
Tourism team chairperson Tess Chan, during the opening ceremonies, said that with tourism being a major economic driver, it is only fitting for Cebu to want a share of the competitive domestic and international market.
She said yesterday’s congress was meant to help the industry stakeholders gather and get updates and hear issues and concerns from different sectors.
CCCI president Prudencio Gesta, for his part, assured that their cooperation can be sought to support the government’s tourism programs.