Promote Cebu with more than ‘fun Philippines’ tag
While local tourism stakeholders welcome the new Department of Tourism (DOT) slogan, some said Cebu should have its own brand especially for foreign travelers.
Travel executive Bobby Joseph said Cebu has its own unique identity to promote as an island destination and that not all foreign tourists can understand the DOT’s marketing slogan “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.”
“Cebu has to create its own branding, where Cebu will be promoted as Cebu,” Joseph said in the 888 News Forum yesterday.
The DOT slogan went viral through social media and drew mixed reactions online, inspiring witty follow-ups or comical versions.
Cebu attracts the biggest tourist traffic among provinces, with 1.3 million local and foreign visitors a year, topped by South Koreans and Americans.
During the 1980s, when political instability in the Philippines under the Marcos regime made it difficult to attract tourists, Cebu hotel and travel operators, backed by the local government, promoted Cebu as “An Island in the Pacific.”
There were other private sector efforts to position Cebu as a “Fiesta Island.”
Cebu was also recognized in Condé Naste luxury travel magazine and other international publications as one of the top “island destinations” in Asia.
Yesterday, Joseph, who is chairman of the National Association of Independent Travel Associations (NAITAS) in the Philippines, said not all foreign tourists understand the slogan so there should be extra effort to translate it to them, and at the same time, incorporate a program that will promote Cebu.
“Sloganeering is not that important. It’s just a small factor of the whole picture. What we’re selling is the relationship of the visitors to every Filipinos,” Joseph said.
Roads and Infrastructure should be improved by government, Joseph said, a culture of tourism needs to be developed in the barangay level especially in destination areas dependent on eco-tourism.
The number of flights in Cebu should also be increased for the international market, he said.
DOT-7 Regional Director Rowena Montecillo welcomed Joseph’s suggestion, but said they cannot create a separate brand for Cebu.
“In DOT, we just want to have one uniform slogan. But nobody is stopping them. We will support any marketing technique in the region that will be suggested by the private sector,” Montecillo told Cebu Daily News.
She said they’re willing to sit down with the private sector and discuss the branding, which would give Cebu its “own mark.”
If a slogan will be designed for Cebu, Montecillo said the DOT slogan should be used as a guide.
She said Central Visayas previously had slogans like Bohol as an “eco-cultural destination” and Cebu as a “resort and heritage site.”
Montecillo said local stakeholders know their market best and how to reach out to them.
“If they want to have their own mark, we would support that. DOT would want something very specific about the Philippines. We are an agency that promotes the whole Philippines as a destination,” she said.
Cebu officials welcomed the DOT slogan. Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmeña, who chairs the city council’s tourism committee, said it’s catchy and reflects the resiliency of Filipinos.
“Despite the crises and the tragedies that we’ve all gone through, we were still able find ways to smile and have fun,” Osmeña said.
She said reports that the slogan was copied from Switzerland as seen in a 1951 magazine advertisement should not be taken against it.
“For us Filipinos, nothing could get us down. We seem to be able to find joy and laughter in anything. So the slogan is really true. We always see the bright side,” the councilor said.
Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale agreed, saying the new slogan is better than the previous “Pilipinas kay Ganda!”
“This is understandable, globally. To me it tickles my mind. If I were a tourist, I would ask, ‘Why is it more fun in the Philippines?’ I’d get curious,” said Magpale, who chairs the Provincial Board’s tourism committee.
Lilu Aliño, owner of Lilu Advertising and Marketing Solutions, said the DOT slogan is “real and can be owned.”
“(The slogan) is relevant, significant and something that is really Filipino,” she said.
“Our edge is really our people. We’re warm and hospitable. That’s why tourists are going to have fun when they’re here in the Philippines,” said Aliño, who teaches Corporate Communications at St. Theresa’s College in Cebu City.
She said she believes the slogan is a product of extensive study and research.
While it’s understandable that the public compares it to the previous “Wow Philippines” slogan, Aliño said the country should adopt a new campaign instead.
“I think it will fly. I think everybody should support it. We would want them to see the difference through our people who are warm and hospitable, who will really make their stay in the Philippines fun and memorable,” she said.
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