MANILA, Feb 10, 2019, Inquirer. Apparently for President Duterte, it will be more fun if the three secretaries on top of the country’s big-ticket environment cleanups, such as Boracay and Manila Bay, appear in the advertisement refreshing the slogan “It’s More Fun in the Philippines”, reported the Inquirer.
“The President made the joke and said that (Environment) Secretary (Roy) Cimatu, (Interior) Secretary (Eduardo) Año and I should be in the commercial,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat told the Inquirer.
Conceptualized to lure more tourists into the country, the new 18-second advertisement will be launched on Feb. 18.
The triumvirate of Cimatu, Año and Puyat spearheaded the massive rehabilitation of Boracay after the President described the island last year as a “cesspool,” and is now focused on cleaning up Manila Bay.
Puyat said the President made the joke after she presented during last week’s Cabinet meeting the new advertisement of the Department of Tourism (DOT) that would kick off the reinvention of the catchy, world-renowned tourism campaign “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.”
Continuity from P-Noy years
The slogan was coined in 2012, during the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III.
In a text message, Puyat said it didn’t matter that she would be the third tourism secretary to embrace the slogan, adding she believed in the “continuity” of a thing that “works.”
“All the other countries never change their slogan like Malaysia’s ‘Truly Asia’ tourism campaign, as well as that of India’s ‘Incredible India,’” she said.
The department’s new campaign would focus on sustainable tourism, she added.
“Whereas it was our domestic tourists who made the ‘It’s More Fun in the Philipines’ memes trend back when it was first launched, now foreign tourists will play a very big role in our campaign,” Puyat said.
In the new commercial, she said, about 4.3 million people who have used the slogan obliged to have their pictures taken.
Despite Boracay shutdown
At the Cabinet meeting, Puyat said the President was “happy” that despite the six-month closure of Boracay Island last year, tourist arrivals increased by 7.6 percent in 2018.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said at a recent Malacañang briefing that 7.1 million tourists visited the country last year, up 7.65 percent over the 6.6 million arrivals in 2017.
It was the biggest number of tourist arrivals in a year in the country’s history.
Puyat said rehabilitation of Boracay, the country’s flagship destination, opened opportunities for alternative attractions, such as Siargao, Iloilo, Palawan, La Union, Romblon and Siquijor.
“This is a time that celebrates the 7.1 million tourist arrival count, the highest ever in our country’s history,” Puyat said in a statement.
Koreans, Chinese top visitors
South Korea remained the country’s top source of tourists, with 1,587,959 arrivals, while China was a most improved market, growing by 29.62 percent, with 1,255,258 arrivals, for second spot.
The United States remained in third place with 1,034,396 arrivals, followed by Japan, 631,801; Australia, 279,821; Taiwan, 240,842; and Canada, 226,429.
Completing the Top 12 were the United Kingdom with 201,039 arrivals; Singapore, 171,795; Malaysia, 145,242; India, 121,124; and Hong Kong, 117,984.
Puyat said that since the DOT had a modest budget to promote the country, it was partnering with big corporations to help the government attract more tourists.
She said Jollibee — “which has introduced the Filipino palate to more people across the world” — was helping in the DOT campaigns and had actually made a DOT commercial using its own resources.
“We also have a campaign with Cebu Pacific on sustainable and responsible tourism. Bench decided to shoot [its] summer ads all over the country and is also using [its version] of ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines,’” Puyat said.