Mayon’s non-inclusion in new DOT campaign irates Salceda: You failed Albay
MANILA, Philippines — Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda called out the Department of Tourism (DOT) for failing to include the Mayon Volcano in the country’s latest marketing campaign, adding that the agency has failed Albay residents who look forward to earning from tourism.
Salceda in a series of Facebook posts and eventually, a statement on Wednesday said he is disappointed with the decision of his friend, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco, to drop Mayon Volcano from the promotional advertisement.
The lawmaker added that he grew frustrated even more after he was told not to fret since Mayon was represented in the final logo — which he said is not easily recognizable as it is a mere pixel — and that the volcano is part of the 50 major volcanoes and mountains.
“I remain disappointed in my friend, Secretary Frasco, for the exclusion of Mayon Volcano in the new official tourism video of the Philippines. I am more disappointed in the response that I should not bring this issue up because, anyway, Mayon is included in the 50 major volcanoes and mountains represented (by a pixel!) in the official tourism logo and slogan,” Salceda said.
“I express this frustration because tourism is disproportionately more crucial in Albay, and Bicol at large. This is how thousands of Albayano families make a living. It would not have cost much to include just a scene of Mayon, but it would have meant the world to Albay families relying on tourism for their bread and butter,” he added.
According to Salceda, past promotional videos have helped Albay a lot in terms of tourism, because Mayon Volcano was featured there. The lawmaker said that during his stint as Albay governor, tourist arrivals swelled from 123,000 in 2006 to 1.4 million in 2015.
“Just to demonstrate how affirmative support from the national government can be a gamechanger for tourism: When I was governor of Albay, we increased foreign tourist arrivals from 8,700 in 2006 to 374,000 in 2015. Total tourist arrivals swelled from 123,000 to 1.4 million over the same period,” he said.
“We credit this partly to how we were proportionately featured in promotional material over the same period by the National Government. Mayon deserves better than a pixel in the logo where you need strained eyes to see it. Mayon has been a national symbol and a national treasure (one of only three UNESCO-declared biosphere reserves in the country),” he added.
After the DOT and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announced that the the tagline “Love the Philippines” would now be the country’s new branding, the department released a one minute and 45 second-video highlighting the activities that foreigners can do in the Philippines.
However, noticeably missing from the shots is Mayon Volcano. In the logo that was presented by DOT, the near-perfect cone of Mayon Volcano cannot be easily recognized too.
Salceda, however, said that Albay deserves more than this since the province has the only international airport in this side of the country, and is actually one of the country’s more important tourist destinations in terms of income contribution.
“We have the only international airport in South Luzon: Bicol International Airport, which this government calls ‘the most scenic international gateway in the country’. It would have helped improve the government’s value-for-money for BIA to promote Mayon and Albay,” he said.
“Per capita, Albay is one of the country’s most important tourist destinations. Pre-pandemic, it attracted 1.32 tourists per resident, when the top region, Central Visayas, attracts just 1.17, and the national average being 0.55. Bicol’s economy depends heavily on tourism, moreso than the rest of the country. Last year, accommodation and food service (the most direct sector affected by tourism) was 1.93% of total regional GDP, while the national average was 1.80%,” he added.
Salceda urged Frasco to ask predecessors in the DOT on why Mayon is always featured in the country’s promotional materials.
“Secretary Frasco, ask all your predecessors in the DOT. Mayon deserved better treatment. You failed Albay — but this can be rectified,” he said.
INQUIRER.net and other media outfits have sought the side of Frasco over the issue, but she has not replied as of posting time.